Thursday, 25 April 2013

Youth Arts Week: May 1 - 7, 2013

Youth Arts Week begins May 1 and activities in Thunder Bay are offered at various locations throughout the city. Information can be found at:
     Youth Arts Week was initiated by the Arts Network for Children and Youth two years ago. Alana Forslund ( is one of the coordinators busy with preparations. “It's exciting to see the growth we've had in community response since the first year here in Thunder Bay. A number of local organizations and artists are taking part in this initiative this year, including the Baggage Building Arts Centre, Community Arts & Heritage Education Project, Definitely Superior Artist Run Centre/Die Active Art Collective, and Thunder Bay Art Gallery. The City of Thunder Bay has jumped on board to help promote the event in partnership with Youth Week.”
     Some of the activities include a neighbourhood walkabout to explore photography and digital manipulation techniques, creating soundscapes to go with the images, creating original lyrics and learning how to use them in a song, visual art workshops, creating a live “yarn-bomb” installation, dance and performance art, language workshops, found object fashion inspired by Caribana which includes a parade, creating music with instrument software using computers and webcams, a film night, painting a Mac’s Convenience Store, poetry slams and more.
     The activities surrounding Youth Week sound like a great way to jump start the spring and summer for your kids, getting them involved in activities that they could continue over the holidays. Parents often have trouble getting their kids motivated with something new, and what Youth Arts Week provides is an opportunity to meet with other interested kids in engaging settings with experienced instructors who enjoy working with children. Most of the opportunities offered are free of charge.
     The sheer joy young people get at an early age from finding and strengthening their talents and opening their eyes to a variety of possibilities in terms of life choices and developing hobbies and careers is also something of great value in the future when they retire from work. The number of Canadians who don’t know what to do with themselves after they retire is staggering. Just when they have the freedom to do whatever they want, they don’t know what to do because they haven’t developed any skills, hobbies, or interests that are challenging and close to their hearts. It’s never too late.
     We all have some kind of natural talent or a few, but discovering talent and developing it doesn’t always happen. Even if one is not particularly good at something, like dancing, there’s no reason to quit, and with effort, you can at least get good at something, get healthy, make friends and benefit in unforeseen ways. There’s a great line from the animated movie, Ratatouille, which applies here. “Everyone can learn to cook, but not everyone can be a great chef.” This is worth remembering, and applies to all the arts. And who knows, maybe you can become the great chef, great singer, dancer, or musician, whatever. But it all starts with opportunities and encouragement. 

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