As the needs of students and our community grow, demand for the programs offered by Artists for Kids expands as well. With finite resources, we can only provide new programs through added support. Two organizations in particular have provided specific funding that has had a direct, positive impact on youth in our community.
Coast Capital Savings has provided us the means to offer three full days of art-based career training to at-risk youth. Through their Community Investment Grants for Youth, we have created programs that allow us to bring working artists to the students at Mountainside Secondary.
On Monday, January 15, the students worked with Tania Gleave, a local multi-media artist, creating monotype prints. Tania taught the students the techniques for working with oil-based inks and how to work with multiple plates. The students then planned and designed their work and created original works on rag paper. "Tania is great with the students. She's able to share her perspectives and insights while engaging them in the art," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids. "You can see the connection the young people are making with the opportunity."
On Monday, January 22, Jud Beaumont of Straight Line Designs brought his unique woodworking insights to the students. They selected pieces of wood and with Jud's pieces as inspiration, created items for their iPhones and other devices. The process began with choosing a piece of wood then planning and sketching a project. Focusing on the outcome meant that the students needed to research, conceptualize, design, problem solve, create and complete. "The ability to meet and work with Jud, and experience the hands-on success is profound for these students," says Yolande.
The program concludes on Monday, January 29 when students will be creating waterproof canvas bags. They will design an item that meets their needs, then working with grommets and studs, make and complete the bag.
"It's a remarkable gift to be able to provide students with perspective," says Yolande. "They see the direct correlation between planning and execution." Some students learn through a more hands-on or visual approach, so this unique in-school program allows those who may not have experienced success in the classroom, to feel the pride and self worth that comes through accomplishment. And by hearing stories of those who have created thriving careers through their art and skills, students are able to understand some of the opportunities that await them.
The support of Coast Capital Savings has allowed us to work directly with about 50 students, providing them with hands-on, skill-building and the ability to experience the success that comes through focused, engaged work.
Another source of funding that has had a direct impact on young people's career choices is the funding that came from the City of North Vancouver Youth Initiative Grant. Their support has allowed us to create and run an art assistant training program. This program runs for three Wednesday afternoons in January. Eight secondary students are attending.
During the three sessions, the students have the opportunity to see teachers and assistants in action with young people. They first attend an art class, to see how the assistant and instructor interact, as well as observing the kids in the class. Then they discussed what they learned. Commenting on how effective the art assistant was in the class, the conversations turned to how they could create such an effective teacher-assistant partnership. In upcoming classes, students will also learn about safety and engagement of kids and the non-verbal ways that they can help to control a class, without disrupting the lessons. They will also work with a young person, to experience, first hand, effective tactics and strategies.
Upon completion, the students will receive a completion letter from Yolande Martinello and be invited to apply for upcoming art assistant positions.
The impact of these two grants has allowed us to elevate the awareness and opportunities of about 60 young people in our community. We are profoundly grateful for the support of Coast Capital Savings and the City of North Vancouver.