STEPS Brings Youth Public Art Workshops and Leadership Program to St. James Town this September!
Following on the success of its pilot project in Thorncliffe Park, the Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Space (STEPS) Initiative begins its youth art workshops in St. James Town this September. The workshops are part of the STEPS’ Emerging ARTivist Program, a series of workshops and leadership opportunities which use art to explore urban design and the built environment.
STEPS has engaged 9 youth facilitators aged 14-17, who are all current or former residents of St. James Town to facilitate workshops alongside professional artists for younger kids in the community. Workshops include graffiti arts, found object collage, sculpture and performance. In addition to making art, youth discuss the role of public art, the built environment, forms of oppression and how to emerge as leaders in their community. Youth facilitators will receive upwards of 100 volunteer community service hours for their participation in the program, and will be supported in developing their own community art projects with the goal of engaging the broader community and shaping public spaces.
Alexis Kane Speer, Founding Director of the STEPS Initiative adds, “We are delighted to see this project expand as we had envisioned reaching diverse and underserved neighbourhoods in Toronto. Our work in Thorncliffe has been a huge success, with our youth facilitators forming an arts collective of their own and taking real leadership roles in their community. It’s great to see young people get passionate about transforming their local environment. We can’t wait to continue this work in St. James Town.”
Workshops will take place Saturdays in September at the Wellesley Community Centre, are free of charge for all youth participants and open to children aged 9-12. STEPS is an incubated project of the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), and is working with local partners, City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Branch Out Theatre and Culture Days. This program is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, abnd the Ontario Arts Council.
For more information, or to register for this program, visit the STEPS website
www.stepsinitiative.com or call416-572-4374
Background on STEPS:
STEPS is an organization promoting the use of art to connect people with public spaces. STEPS seeks to challenge and change the ways in which public spaces are currently being used, how citizens communicate on environmental issues and the role of the artist in community development. STEPS and its Emerging ARTivist Program are supported by the Centre for Social Innovation, the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, StreetARToronto and ArtReach Toronto.