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.
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!).
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.
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.