Youth Arts Week Success

Many of us are still reveling and reeling from Youth Art’s Week’s events. On Thursday we had our closing celebration at the Library, complete with cake to hear some highlights and stories.

Bridgewater YAW team

cutting cake

Some stories from  the week included cramming in over 100 people among the stacks of fiction and non-fiction in the Library for the Coffee House. Youth shared poetry, monologues, acoustic blues, folk and banjo, humorous pieces and even sign language to an Ani D’Franco song!  We had fair trade coffee and herbal tea, home made baked goods and sweets (including a gluten free chocolate cake!).

transforming the library

Liam on Banjo

creating the space with cushions

Nick and Shane

Ashton signing to Ani D’Franco

Shelah Allen and Alex Hickey were  there from the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival scouting some of the acts-and were quite inspired by the young talent they witnessed. I t was magical?
The most magical piece for me was the transformation of the space. How an everyday library can be shape-shifted with a few table cloths hanging, the aroma of coffee, soft lighting, and the positive intention of the organizers to create a warm inviting space. And of course the infusion of young people sharing their skills and talents. I’m always thrilled when we take an ordinary, everyday space and transform it.
The same thing happened the following day at the Free Range Art event. We were given a unit in the Mall–grey and un-inviting. We hung colourful blankets from the second hand store (donated) and beautiful tie dyed fabric brought in by a young artist–we added tables covered in art supplies and spring clean up junk that we’d collected earlier in the week. Some colourful posters and signs to invite people into the space, some youth energy and enthusiasm–we transformed the space. During the day we had over 60 visitors stop by through the course of the day. They took old boots, pieces of wood, bowls, lawn fencing and created sculptures and murals.  We turned a mall unit into an art studio where anything is possible.

side walk art outside the Mall

art out of junk

Rachel and Luke making art

This week has been transformational. It has put into perspective what is possible when young people are engaged and empowered. Even doing this work for 20 years I’m always thrilled to see what can happen when young people are given a voice and a role on our communities.

Youth Arts Week Action

Day 1 of youth arts week started with Jason and Jess creating sidewalk chalk murals outside the Bridgewater Elementary and Highschools;

Youth Arts Week

Jason and Jess Chalk it Up


Following this a few of us were hanging art at the Wildwood Cafe:

Kyrsten, Hannah, Ashton

Aston and Kyrsten

On Wed, Jason and Jess were at Bluenose Academy and yesterday at Bayview School chalkin’ it up.

Last night a few of us went around town during to pick through people’s spring clean up junk piles to find treasures for our Free Range Art event on Saturday. I’ve never seen such enthusiasm in a group of young people as they pick through trash! It’s all about their passion for art and being involved in something meaningfully. Our roving photographer Stephanie was along capturing some of the adventure:

Free Ranging It

One person’s junk…

Look at that haul!

Treasure hunters

Today is preparing for the Free Range Art event tomorrow, chalking up King Street, and the Coffee House at the Library!