Written by Naira B. (Youth Arts Action North)
Hi Everyone! Welcome to our first blog post! (for yaaNorth this year)
We are a team of youth called Youth Arts Action - Team North who act as creative leaders in the North of McKnight areas. Being a group of 12+ high school girls, we have been meeting weekly since September to discuss and plan art projects that address issues we find relevant in our community. These projects explore the themes of social change and encourage positive growth here in our area. Our group not only increases awareness of certain issues, but promotes leadership, team building, creative thinking, management skills and builds connections. Team North develops stronger communication skills and is a valuable experience that allows youth to share diverse perspectives while building relationships with other youth.
Recently, our group has been working on planning, creating, and developing art sculptures for the Falconridge Genesis Centre. Our group has done significant brainstorming, planning, and team building for our project, called Pillars of Humanity. These four mobile sculptures will hang from the four towers surrounding the Genesis Centre. The artwork is a creative project that addresses the issues we find relevant in our community and is set to be accomplished and installed by the start of May. Recently, our group has been generously granted $5000 by the Calgary Foundation - Neighbourhood Grants to build this project. The grant will help install, provide materials for the project, promote, and engage the community in ‘build sessions’. The four art pieces are derived from the four seasons and represent the following:
Spring: Spring is the transitional season between winter and summer and is often associated with the rebirth and growing of plants, flowers, etc. Delicacy is often attributed to spring because flowers and plants tend to be in a very delicate state because of their growth process. In our art sculptures, spring is represented mainly through the use of cherry blossoms - branching off from the theme of delicacy - shaped in a spiral which will hang from one of the towers. The cherry blossoms suspended in a spiral pattern from the ceiling represents the beauty of new life and rebirth. Along with the cherry blossoms, there are also origami birds that hang in the midst of the chandelier itself along with the clouds. The issue in our community and our world that we wanted to associate spring with is mental health. Most reasonably because mental health is also a delicate topic often ignored and overlooked in our society today. The birds represent freedom and perspective to the topic of mental health and are also meant to be a sense of hope for those struggling with the issue.
Summer: Summer is the season between spring and autumn and is a great season to spend outdoors. In our artwork, summer is very similar to the structure of spring, but instead of cherry blossoms, we decided to use kites. Kites are a strong symbol of the freedom in association to spring, but also a strong representation of winds and dreams taking flight. Since dreams are such a universal topic, it is a way to remind the community that we all have dreams we want to accomplish and might need help accomplishing them. Currently, our team is working on these kites, made of crayon shavings ironed onto wax paper to create a marble effect. Our group will hold a community building session in which we will invite everyone of all ages to write their dreams on the kites. Summer is a season of warmth and light and we wanted to collect dreams from people of all ages. The dreams written on the kites are a symbol for allowing your dreams to ‘fly’, a reminder that with hard work, anything is possible.
Winter: Winter is the coldest season of the year and occurs after autumn and before spring each year. Winter illustrates our theme of perseverance, overcoming hardships, and helping others out. The sculptural look of winter consists of various snowflakes suspended from a series of clouds. Snowflakes are a powerful symbol of perseverance, an important characteristic that teaches us to continually work hard regardless of any opposition or obstacles. Winter is a symbol of appreciation and the special attributes and philosophies each of us shares with our community. It is a season of acknowledgment, respect, and finding the ability to overcome adversity. The clouds will be made out of cotton and the snowflakes out of paper. The winter aspect of the project will be incorporate imagery with input from the community that further supports our theme.
Autumn: Autumn is the season after summer and is famous for its red, orange, and yellow leaves. Autumn is the season full of pastel and bright colors and is where the idea and theme of diversity spring from. Since our world is full of different cultures, religions, skin colors, etc, we thought the artwork for autumn should be a true representation of this fact. The sculpture is a giant twine globe that will hand from one of the towers in the Genesis centre. The twine ball will be sliced in half so that the flat side will face the floor for observers to view. The twine making up the ball will be different shades of skin tones clasped together to represent that everyone, no matter where they come from or how they look, is united and that racism should not divide us. The flat side of the twine facing the floor will be the clock with its hands frozen at 11 O’Clock to celebrate our country's freedom and will be decorated with a map of the world. The globe on the clock also represents the idea of multiculturalism and the acceptance of different cultures and religions. We will also incorporate smaller twine balls and fall leaves.
As Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Pillars of Humanity is not just what our group, Team North, views as important, rather something the entire community can appreciate and become a part of. Our mobile sculptures will not just create a sense of unity, but will also create awareness for the issues that need to be brought to attention. The artwork is not being built for the sake of having art in our community, but to develop a sense of belonging, empathy, and an appreciation of art in our world.
We have some upcoming community engagement sessions that you are invited to take part in!
Thursday Feburary 22nd: Anti-Bullying Day Youth Event
4:30-8:30 @Evergreen Theatre
We will be hosting a kite building workshop to contribute to out Summer sculpture.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
Wednesday Feburary 28th: Pink Shirt Day Youth Event
3:30-5:30 @The Genesis Centre
We will have a table where you can give your input for our sculptures, help us make a pink cherry blossom, and decorate a kite.
Please contact email@example.com for more info
Saturday March 3rd: All ages Community Build Session
12:00-4:00pm @ The Genesis Centre
Please come help us by building a kite and let your dreams take flight. Also contribute to our other seasons!
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
Saturday April 21st: Pillars of Humanity Project Reveal and Community Celbration
1:00-3:00pm @The Genesis Centre
Come celebrate the new sculpures which will be installed in the four glass towers at the Genesis Centre and help us brainstorm for what we should do next!
Please contact email@example.com for more info
If you’re interested in joining the crew, we’re always welcoming new members:
Youth Arts Action - North
When: Thursdays; 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Where: Genesis Centre - 1000 Voices
7555 Falconridge Blvd NE