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Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

ArtTransforms Series Final Episode: Art’s Impact

SKETCH and their partners at TraffikGroup are proud to launch their web series #ArtTransforms: 90-second video vignettes in which young people reveal their own personal Art Transforms story. The series covers themes like mental health, inclusion, entrepreneurship, and more. Young people share how engaging in the arts at SKETCH has sparked their own personal and artistic transformation.”

“If art has transformed your life, share our Final Episode: Art’s Impact. Join these five Toronto Cultural Influencers to support SKETCH, where young people create a new world for themselves and a better future for us all.

To view the other Art Transforms videos and/or to make a donation, visit sketch.ca/arttransforms.

We’re inspired by the stories of young people using art to transform their lives and communities. On any given night in Toronto, about 2,000 young people are homeless. For over 20 years, SKETCH has been advocating that access to the arts is a potent response to this crisis. Make an impact on young people’s creative capacity today. Your response means more youth living homeless or in poverty will find health, inspiration, and voice through the arts.

SKETCH would like to give a final thank you to our video co-producers: Agency: TraffikGroup | Photographer: Sandy Nicholson | Photography Production: FUZE Reps | Editing: Panic and Bob | Visual Effects: The Vanity | Music: Boombox Sound | Makeup: Plutino Group”

Click SKETCH’s playlist to view past #ArtTransforms videos in the series.

-from SKETCH
Read SKETCH’s profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

ArtTransforms Series Episode 4: Art Impassions

SKETCH and their partners at TraffikGroup are proud to launch their web series #ArtTransforms: six 90-second video vignettes in which young people reveal their own personal Art Transforms story. The series covers themes like mental health, inclusion, entrepreneurship, and more. Young people share how engaging in the arts at SKETCH has sparked their own personal and artistic transformation.”

“Oddane released his debut album ‘From Yard to Foreign’ in July 2017. In addition to his blossoming music career, He currently works as a youth worker at a local Toronto shelter, and is working on his second album.

On any given night in Toronto, about 2,000 young people are homeless (about 6000 on any night across Canada). For over 20 years, SKETCH has been advocating that access to the arts is a potent response. Through Oddane’s story, we are inspired and compelled to develop more opportunities in the arts for young people to live well and lead in reshaping our communities.

Support the 800 youth that come to SKETCH every year to build their skill base, get access to healthy meals, and become entrepreneurs.

Donate at sketch.ca/donate today. Share Oddane’s story, Art Impassions, and sign up for more stories at bit.ly/NextArtTransformsEpisode.”

Click SKETCH’s playlist to view past #ArtTransforms videos in the series.

-from SKETCH
Read SKETCH’s profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

ArtTransforms Series Episode 3: Art Inspires

SKETCH and their partners at TraffikGroup are proud to launch their web series #ArtTransforms: six 90-second video vignettes in which young people reveal their own personal Art Transforms story. The series covers themes like mental health, inclusion, entrepreneurship, and more. Young people share how engaging in the arts at SKETCH has sparked their own personal and artistic transformation.”

“On any given night in Toronto, about 2,000 young people are homeless (about 6000 on any night across Canada). For over 20 years, SKETCH has been advocating that access to the arts is a potent response. Through Skratch’s story, we are inspired and compelled to develop more opportunities in the arts for young people to live well and lead in reshaping our communities.

Skratch is a grafitti/aerosole artist. His art is inspired by traditional native art, and graffiti style.

Follow Skratch:
Facebook: @skratch.wonder
Instagram: @skratchwonder

Make an impact on young people’s creative capacity today.

Share Skratch’s story, Art Inspires, and sign up for more stories down below.

Your response means more youth living homeless or in poverty will find health, inspiration, and voice through the arts.

Click bit.ly/ArtTransformsSeries to view past #ArtTransforms videos in the series.”

-from SKETCH
Read SKETCH’s profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

ArtTransforms Series Episode 2: Art Speaks

SKETCH and their partners at TraffikGroup are proud to launch their web series #ArtTransforms: six 90-second video vignettes in which young people reveal their own personal Art Transforms story. The series covers themes like mental health, inclusion, entrepreneurship, and more. Young people share how engaging in the arts at SKETCH has sparked their own personal and artistic transformation.

In the second episode of the seven-part series #ArtTransforms, musician and entertainer, @Dynesti, shares her story.

Dynesti Williams is currently working on her first album entitled The Dyna. This project will take listeners on a journey through her experiences as a young person from the margins who worked hard to transform her life through art. Dyna is her nickname, and The Dyna is the creative space where she combines the ingredients of the universe into sonic food dishes for the soul. This album will be released for free after Dynesti’s tour across the US with producer Timian which started on October 1.

Make an impact on young people’s creative voice and capacity today.

On any given night in Toronto, about 2,000 young people are homeless. For 20 years, SKETCH has been advocating that access to the arts is a potent response. Through Dynesti’s story, we can inspire to public to see the urgency of providing opportunities in the arts for young people to live well and lead in shaping our communities.”

Click bit.ly/ArtTransformsSeries to view past #ArtTransforms videos in the series.

-from SKETCH
Read SKETCH’s profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

ArtTransforms Series Episode 1: Art Heals (Sketch)

“SKETCH and their partners at TraffikGroup are proud to launch their web series #ArtTransforms: six 90-second video vignettes in which young people reveal their own personal Art Transforms story. The series covers themes like mental health, inclusion, entrepreneurship, and more. Young people share how engaging in the arts at SKETCH has sparked their own personal and artistic transformation.

‘I needed a space to heal. I needed to find community.’

In the first episode of our seven-part series #ArtTransforms, textile artist and fashion designer Huda of @heldbyhuda shares her artistic journey.

Huda is the entrepreneur behind HELD by Huda (@heldbyhuda) and is in the final phase of Fashion Your Futures Competition for emerging fashion designer and is an active member of Toronto’s Fashion Incubator.”

-from SKETCH
Read SKETCH’s profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

Video: True Heart – The Value of Art (Art Starts)

Art Starts asked participants in their True Heart program “What has art started in your life?” watch their responses above.

Art Starts creates vibrant Toronto neighbourhoods through community-building arts initiatives. We bring together professional artists and residents of all ages to create dynamic and accessible arts projects that are responsive to community needs and aspirations. We don’t create social change on our own; we collaborate, facilitate, and inspire.”

-from Art Starts
Read Art Starts profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

DAREarts Attawapiskat 2017 Song: We are the People & Reflection: artist-educator

The following post originally appears in DAREarts blog and has been reposted with DAREarts’ permission. Special thanks to DAREarts for sharing this piece with us and for inviting ArtBridges to participate. For more information on DAREarts, please visit DAREarts.com 

Written by DAREarts artist-educator Glenn Marais.

“DAREarts came to the community of Attawapiskat to hear a story about the original Bear Clan from a knowledge keeper, John Matthews, and to take that story and create a film, visual art, a song and a slideshow of pictures to accompany the music. We worked for three days, two seventy five minute periods, with the high school students on a very condensed schedule, including two evenings and one day after school.  What happened was incredible as the students and teachers came together and worked in the spirit of true partnership to create a stunning and moving cinematic interpretation of the story, with original music created by them and a powerful and moving song that expressed the story of their lives and their love of the land.

The sun sets late in Attawapiskat. At 10:00 O’clock it starts to go down and the night sky comes out, crystal clear constellations arcing across the stratosphere, a sailor’s map, starry legends over a world that sleeps but does not rest.  It rises early, breaking the horizon with a brilliant northern radiance illuminating the dusty streets and weathered roofs of the reserve.  The homes are falling apart after the tyranny of the long, cold winter and the morning sounds of rumbling trucks and nails being driven, blend into the chaotic orchestra of a community waking and beginning to move through the day. Its sounds are just like any other town or community coming to life with the promise of the morning. Only here, it is less about promise than survival. There is a magnificent white Catholic church, tall and majestic by the water with stained glass windows that tell the history of the people and whispers of apologies for past wrongs.  Truths have yet to come and apologies given for Residential schools and that is part of the healing that must happen. It is part of a history long buried, that has been disturbed, opened and left like a forgotten graveyard.

Today’s youth live within the reality of the schools ignoble past.  In the shadow of their parents haunted memories, they struggle to burst free and find the glorious sun that shines so long in the summer and hibernates in the winter. Yesterday, one of the high school students walked and talked with us and her words were true, direct and honest, filled with a piercing, unabated intelligence that captivated and charmed us and as she ascended the wooden stairs that are ubiquitous in this community, slowly opening the door to her home that rested in a state of decay, my heart broke for her and I felt ashamed because my feelings seem powerless to help her.

The name reserve fails to describe the pulsing heart of this community.  What a shallow name for a community of people.  We name things in this world for convenience of categorization and to displace the fact that we have committed wrongs. A dressed up wound still bleeds despite our arrogant nature and human nature is arrogant, particularly when it vaunts it’s self as civilized and tromps over anything that doesn’t fit inside it’s neat, tight lineage. The reserve isn’t a dumping ground for an inconvenient culture.  It is a living breathing community that celebrates and mourns, dances and shuffles, sings and cries like any other.  When you fly into a northern community, the sheer beauty of it is staggering.  Hundreds of pristine lakes and rivers dot the landscape of silty islands, whose fish laden waters and abundant wildlife enrich the land. The land is the mother and the connection runs deep, through memories, and stories of creation, and growth with 44 clans coming from the original clan bear clan.  An ancient system of identification and relationship to the animal world that kept the bloodlines as pure as the waters that surround this island community.  The name Attawapiskat means, “People of the parting of the rocks” and it is an island of many created by the surge of the mighty Attawapiskat river, where the people live in harmony with great respect for nature and the balance of life.

This land is much more than its surface appearance of dirt, dusty roads and broken homes. It has the pulse of the Earth mother and connects the people in ways we can’t begin to imagine. We look at land as possession, here it is the heartbeat of a world that is interdependent, with everything flowing and weaving in and out of a glorious kaleidoscopic tapestry that bedazzles the eyes and stirs the soul. It is the sound of a motorboat powering a launch into the rising sun, the crack of a rifle across a winter plain, bringing home food to a family during the cold winter season, and it is the cry of the pow wow singer whose voice is the sound of the elders echoing through the universe. What great spirit inhabits this land and what wonders await if we can learn to walk in humble shoes and beside our First Nations people.

I have heard people say we should remove them from the reserve and integrate them into society as if the “them” in this conversation are inanimate beings that we can move on some self-righteous chessboard. What about a question? How can we work with you to make things better for you? Where can we begin and sit down with you as brothers and sisters in a circle and come to an understanding and a reckoning of our true history, so that we can move forward together, like the two rows on the Iroquois Wampum belt, in a peaceful union? I don’t dream of such things, I speak of them and when I play my guitar and sing and drum, I sing to the heavens, the Earth, my family and my promise, to never stop until things change.  For now, I walk these dusty roads with my eyes, ears and heart open and look always forward to the sun, moon and stars, just like the words in the song that we wrote together:

“We are the sun, moon and stars, we are the trees
All around us, is everything we need
Everything we need is all around”

We live in an abundant world, made shallow by greed, and in this great land of broken promise and faded dreams are the glittering embers of a glorious past that knew, everything we needed was around us and not to take more than we needed. I heard a story on this trip from a noble young man of great character from Attawapiskat, who told us of being pursued by a wolf, when his skidoo broke down.  He told us how he shot around the wolf to scare him off and kept doing this even as the wolf closed in on him.  A man of lesser character would have killed the wolf.  He did not. This is the character of a man cast in iron and made of blood and bone who taught me so much with the simple power of his story.  Our life is meant to be lived in the teachings, with humility and wisdom with respect for ourselves and the world, with courage in the face of danger, so that we will lead with love and honesty, and in that way come to know our truth. To know the teachings of the grandfathers is easy, to live them is hard. Thank you my young friend for a life well lived and lessons well taught.


To read an overview of DAREarts’ week in Attawapiskat, click here.

DAREarts is a charity that empowers young at-risk Canadians aged 9 to 19 to ignite change as leaders. Visit darearts.com to learn more. DAREarts ‘First Roots’ program partners with First Nations to work alongside youths, local artists and elders and, together, address challenges such as school absenteeism, hopelessness and suicide.

PROJECT SUPPORTERS: Province of Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport; Ontario150; Northbridge Insurance; Anne Livingston; David & Teresa Thomas; Noront Resources; The Paul Semple Award; Allan Drive Middle School”

-posted with permission from DAREarts, read the original post here
Read DAREarts’ profile on ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

DAREarts in Attawapiskat: “Our Stories are a Part of Us”

The following post originally appears in DAREarts blog and has been reposted with DAREarts’ permission. Special thanks to DAREarts for sharing this piece with us and for inviting ArtBridges to participate. For more information on DAREarts, please visit DAREarts.com 

“In June 2017, DAREarts returned to Attawapiskat FN for a week of empowering workshops that helped many youth discover their voices and inner leadership. DAREarts workshops are facilitated by DAREarts artist-educators in partnership with the community. 

The first of our team to arrive in Attawapiskat FN was DAREarts artist-educator and cinematographer Peter Elliott, who met with the grade 7s of Kattawapiskak Elementary School on Friday to introduce them to DAREarts and the art of filmmaking. The class watched several short films created by other DAREarts First Nations youth. Peter then dared the class to take a big risk without being afraid of failure: they were going to create their own short film in just ONE day! In groups, the class ventured out onto the school grounds armed with cameras and creativity, capturing a variety of different angles and shots. Peter then used this footage, along with stock footage of an alligator, to bring their hilarious creation to life as “Attawapigator”. When they saw their video it was a raging success, and they asked for an encore viewing. Despite many of the students being quiet and shy, they were now ready to take on more DAREarts!

DAREarts Lead Teacher Laura MacKinnon, DAREarts artist-educator and musician Glenn Marais, and ArtBridges’ Seanna Connell arrived over the weekend to join Peter. The team met the grade 9 class at Vezina Secondary School on Monday morning, and after a creative introduction the class welcomed knowledge keeper John Matthews. He captivated the students with a story of the first clan, the Bear Clan, offering the youths inspiration for the week ahead. In the afternoon the team met the grade 12 class and repeated their introductions, and John Matthews returned to share the story with them as well. Both classes were invited to work with the team in the evenings throughout the week. The first evening had a small turnout, but was massively productive! Colin arrived first, spending the evening making beats on the keyboard with Glenn, brainstorming lyrics with Laura, and learning to use the video camera with Peter. Tyler then arrived, making a beeline for Glenn who worked with him to compose a whole melody on the keyboard. Chandler and Jamie were the last to arrive, working with Laura and Seanna to capture footage and write the film’s plot.

Tuesday was fast-paced, with the class formed into two groups: the Musicians and the Film Crew. The musicians worked with Glenn and Laura on the verses for their song and created music for their short film, while the film crew started casting and shooting their first scene with Peter and Seanna. A few of the youths were hanging back, but they took action when given the roles of assistant director, set photographer, and editor. In the evening, youths Keenan, Colin, and Jack Jr. (who is also a DAREarts Leadership Award recipient) arrived right away. Keenan worked with Glenn and Jack Jr. to record two rap verses he had written during the day, and Colin was joined by another arriving youth, Chandler, to go out and film using the shot list.

On Wednesday, another group was created: Visual Artists! Throughout the day, the musicians finished writing the chorus of their song and prepared introductory music for the film score. One youth, Ambrose, skillfully layered different notes and sounds to add the finishing touches to the chorus. The film crew worked on several group shot scenes in the teepee frame near the school, with youth Jade working as our set photographer. The visual artists created chalk pastel drawings of bears that were integrated into the film using green screen. In the evening, several youths met to record parts of the song, and Jack Jr. offered to narrate the film. Colin acted as audio engineer, Syvanna sang the chorus, Jack Jr. sang and recorded a traditional hand drum song, and Tyler rapped to add a powerful end to the track.

Thursday was a special Culture Days celebration at the school, so our team spent the day preparing the materials the youths had created. On Friday afternoon, everyone was welcomed to a special feast at the school that celebrated both the traditional Culture Days activities and the youths’ accomplishments with DAREarts. The feast began with a prayer and then everyone ate, enjoying many local delights. Once finished, they squeezed into teacher Mandy Alves’s classroom to screen the youths’ film, “Bear Clan”, and a slideshow music video created using their song and photography. There was laughter and joy all around! The students and audience squished together for a group photo before saying their goodbyes for the night.  It was the perfect end to a very special week, and the youths were so proud to bring smiles to the faces of their elders, teachers, families, and community members.


To read artist-educator Glenn Marais’s reflection, click here.

DAREarts is a charity that empowers young at-risk Canadians aged 9 to 19 to ignite change as leaders.  Visit darearts.com to learn more. DAREarts ‘First Roots’ program partners with First Nations to work alongside youths, local artists and elders and, together, address challenges such as school absenteeism, hopelessness and suicide.

PROJECT SUPPORTERS: Province of Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport; Ontario150; Northbridge Insurance; Anne Livingston; David & Teresa Thomas; Noront Resources; The Paul Semple Award; Allan Drive Middle School”

-posted with permission from DAREarts, read the original post here
Read DAREarts’ profile on ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

Video: Youth Explore Potential Solutions to Barriers in Their Lives (Youth Agencies Alliance)

Youth Explore Potential Solutions to Barriers in Their Lives

Youth Agencies Alliance (YAA) has come together once again to host an art show with the intention of helping youth explore belonging, urban & world issues, and human rights from a positive perspective.

Artists from Art City, Graffiti Art Programming and North End Art Centre (Ndinawe) facilitated a series of workshops with over 130 participants from the 18 youth-serving organizations across the city that make up the Youth Agencies Alliance. In these workshops we asked youth to discuss barriers in their lives, and they have created artwork and a unique hashtag reflecting their ideas for solutions to breaking down these barriers. We hope that by being part of this project, youth will feel empowered and become actively engaged in discussions within their own communities.

[An exhibition Aug.23-26 launched] the videos and artwork youth made to go along with their hashtags. These videos and art pieces will continue to circulate online throughout the campaign and serve as a topic and inspiration for other youth and the general public. We hope that the campaign will take off and serve to connect youth from many regions of the world and for them to come together to discuss the notion of ‘breaking barriers’ and affecting social change.”

-from Youth Agencies Alliance

Highlights of ArtBridges’ Site Visits in Montreal 3/3

 

Montreal photo 1

Catherine, ready for a day of site visits!

Last June, ArtBridges/ToiledesArts’s Project Director, Seanna Connell and Francophone Community Arts Coordinator, Catherine Lamaison, spent a week in Montréal to visit and meet 19 community partners and learn about the work that they do on the ground. While most of the ArtBridges/ToiledesArts’ team’s work is done online or over the phone from our Toronto office, getting a chance to travel, see community arts programs in action and finally meet partners in person is always highly inspiring and gives all the meaning to our work.

We’ve decided to dedicate a series of three blog posts to the amazing community arts and arts for social change initiatives we’ve discovered in Montreal. Check out part 1 and part 2 here.

Thursday June 23rd
After three days of visits, we were so inspired by all this new information and discovery that it became difficult to talk about it right away, we needed time to process it all. In the meantime, we kept going and were on our way to more exciting meetings for our last day in town: Exeko, Cafe Graffiti, NDG Seniors Atelier, Les Impatients, ELAN and Cirque Hors Piste.

Exeko is a very innovative and progressive organization offering a variety of programs, all extremely creative and aiming at achieving social inclusion through art and philosophy. Exeko’s approach consists in creating collective thinking spaces where everyone is equal, through the organization of critical or creative workshops and programs.  They are Spectrum Productions’ neighbours, in a big arts building in Le Plateau.

Raymond Vigier, founder of Café Graffiti, in the arts studio.

Café Graffiti is an organization that has existed for 30 years in the Maisonneuve neighbourhood, relying on an interesting business model. The publication of a magazine (a prevention tool sold all over Québec, mostly in schools, in French and English and edited by the founder of Café Graffiti, Raymond Viger) and the profit of a bar/restaurant across the street (Bistro Ste Catherine) generates money to fund the organization. Café Graffiti aims at offering a space where youth can come, hang out, make art and feel safe, while developing professional skills, fighting exclusion and marginalization.

Seanna dropped in to see the renowned organization – Les Impatients. Aside from large meeting/art rooms and gift shop there is a museum that showcases sculptures made by program participants. Here art therapy, hands-on arts activities and incredible art exhibits are all in progress! montreal newsletter photo 7Seanna dropped in at the NDG Seniors Atelier’s weekly workshop founded and run by Nicole Macoretta, a masters student in art therapy at Concordia. This new Art Hive is situated in the rec room on the ground floor of a senior’s residence. This beautiful weekly program works so well because it is accessible to the residents and neighbourhood (the program came to them! rather than residents travelling out to a program); there are no overhead costs, as there is an arrangement with the facility to not charge rent; the facility has given them a secure storage area for art supplies (so that materials don’t need to be carted back and forth every week and so that artwork in progress can be stored). Mostly it works so well because Nicole has created an environment for creativity that is warm, supportive, non-judgemental, joyful and accommodating. Participants are free to work on a new weekly art activity or their own project.

Seanna met with Christie Huff with ELAN – English-Language Arts Network that “connects, supports, and creates opportunities for Québec’s English-speaking artists and arts communities.” ELAN works on expanding access to affordable English language arts activities and workshops. Christie was interested in learning more about ArtBridges and to exchange ideas.

Finally, Catherine met with Karine Lavoie from Cirque Hors Piste. Cirque Hors Piste is a social circus organization. It is the Montréal cell of Cirque du Monde, the social action branch of Cirque du Soleil. Offering marginalized people with an alternative space and creative inclusion, the organization promotes individual, social and collective learning through the circus arts. It provides social circus workshops where outreach workers and circus instructors join forces. Regular sessions, sessions in public spaces, and creations in intensive mode – all aim to support the personal, physical and social development of young people in precarious situations. The overarching goal is to help participants create new relationships with society. It was exciting to learn more about the whole social circus network in Canada!

From left to right: Seanna Connell, Russell Jr Ratt, Mathieu Melançon, Catherine Lamaison and Craig Commanda.

From left to right: Seanna Connell, Russell Jr Ratt, Mathieu Melançon, Catherine Lamaison and Craig Commanda.

Friday, June 24th
Seanna and Catherine met early on St. Jean Baptiste Day morning, left Montréal and drove almost 4 hours north-west to Kitigan Zibi reserve to meet young video artists at the Wapikoni Mobile outreach program. The mobile – an RV equipped with state of the art video equipment was plugged in for the month to an electrical outlet at a rest stop in the community. Matthieu- our host – introduced us to Craig and Russell – young community residents whom had previously made a few 5-minute videos. We sat, talked and watched their videos and learned all about Wapikoni. Wapikoni provides Indigenous youth with equipment, skills and guidance on how to tell something personally meaningful through video. The stories are poignant and deeply moving. Youth are fully part of all the processes of video conception and development and the outcomes are professional quality. The videos are shown around the world. After a couple of hours we high-tailed it back through Ottawa and down the 401 to Toronto, so stimulated from all the amazing people we met and projects we saw and learned about. What a privilege! Thank you community partners in Montréal!!!

-Seanna Connell and Catherine Lamaison