My project was a community oriented art event called Youth for Youth Art. The goals were to give local youth artists a platform to showcase their talent and celebrate them, and to give local underprivileged children the opportunity to pursue lessons in the Arts. It is too often that youth artists become discouraged because they are not able to display their work to the greater public, since established organizations do not take us seriously. Youth for Youth Art hopes to change this reality, and help push the public and organization to recognize the great talent that youth have.
Youth artists (musicians, visual artists, poets…etc) aged 14-20 were recruited through posters, school presentations, Social Media and word of mouth. Their work was on display/auction at the event. We partnered with the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, and they provided us with the space and equipment necessary (tables, easels, chairs etc). This partnership was essential because the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is a reputable name in New Brunswick, and for people to see the work of young artists displayed there is really encouraging. We had over 55 pieces on display varying from acrylic paintings, oil paintings, charcoal sketches, poetry, wood turned bowls, digital art, and watercolor. We also had a young violinist play live. The event was held on a Saturday from 1pm-5pm. The artists were all there and were able to interact with the public about their art.
Overall, it was a successful event. It was incredible to see all the artists so encouraged. What was also great was the amount of people that came out to support the event, and there was a lot of surprise at how talented the youth artists were; I think that is a big step towards people realizing to not undermine the talent of young people.
I involved my peers in two different ways in my project. First of all, we had 15 young artists participate in the event, they were from the ages of 14-20. Also I had another 7-10 of my peers volunteer with the planning and setting up the event. I recruited artists through school presentations, posters, social media posts, and word of mouth. I recruited volunteers through word of mouth. The artists were the reason for the event. We displayed and showcased over 55 pieces all created by youth artists. The artists were also at the event the whole day interacting and tell the public about their work. The volunteers were also essential. They helped create the countless documents required for the event and were instrumental in preparing the supplies and setting up the event.
The project engaged 15 young artists, and our target audience was the general public and art lovers. As mentioned above, our main goal was to showcase and celebrate youth artists and help push the public and organization to recognize the great talent that the youth have.
The event was a success with over 200 attendees throughout the day, including the Mayor, board members of art organizations, and other special guests. Many of the guests interacted with the artists, about their art. Many artists were able to make connections with influential people in the local art scene to be potentially displayed in other galleries and art collectives around the city.
Fifteen young artists were able to have their work shown the greater public in a reputable institution that is the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. We had over 55 pieces of work of all mediums. Many artists expressed how encouraging and important it was for them to be showcased and have them and their work is taken seriously. These are some quotes from the artists themselves (we had these quotes printed and scattered around the tables at the event):
Getting the opportunity to see their work displayed in a gallery beside the works of famous artists is really exciting and inspiring, and it shows that having artwork in a gallery is not an unattainable thing. -Cassidy Letourneau
Showcasing young artists is important because it is impossible for any artist (or scientist, philosopher, political thinker, etc.) to create work in a vacuum. So often, galleries do not want to take a chance on an ‘unknown’ and this can make it very difficult for burgeoning artists to cultivate a network upon which they can rely to explore their interests. – Connor Walker
By giving the chance to young artists to promote their work, you are allowing them to put themselves out there, even though it might be scary, and to gain confidence in their ability. – Olivia Thomson
I think one of our biggest successes was the recognition that youth artists gained through the event. Countless people from the community expressed how impressed and surprised they were at the level of talent and proceeded to buy artists’ work and support them. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery also realized how much of a success it was and how important it was to encourage youth artists and want to work with my team and I to make Youth for Youth Art a collective or reoccurring program for youth artists. We also had board members from the Fredericton Art Alliance and local artist collective, Capital Artists, express their interest in displaying the works of more youth artists, or catering more programs towards showcasing them. I thought this was a huge success because at the beginning of the event many of the artists were expressing how it was hard for them to get opportunities as youth, and after the event these opportunities came there way. It is another step forward in gaining recognition as youth artists.
I learned a lot through the whole process the project. One was that no matter how much extensive planning you do, you always have to be ready for things to not go the way you planned or issues that you had not thought of to pop up. When I was planning for the event and supplies, I had to buy, I really thought I had covered everything; but once I had seen the venue, I realized that I needed many more things. For this reason, my team and I were running to different stores up until 2 hours before the event to get supplies. Another lesson I learned was how important it is to have a team around you that you trust and that will help you. When I first started the project, I did not think I would need that many volunteers and that I would be able to do it mostly myself, but I quickly realized that I would need the help of others to work efficiently and in a timely manner. I also learned about the importance of risk management and anticipation. There were many risks involved, such as not having enough attendees, artists not dropping off work in time, and not having enough space for the artwork. I anticipated all these risks, and realized the importance of having plans in order to mitigate them.
If I was to start my project today, I would be firmer with any stakeholders regarding deadlines, and also get more contact information for everyone. I found myself getting frustrated because I contacted everyone through email, and people were taking sometimes weeks to answer me. This became difficult when the deadlines I had given the artists were not met because they did not see or respond to the email in time. A lot of my time was spent reminding people of the deadlines or chasing after a response. When it got closer to the date of the event, I gave the artists my cell phone and they were able to text me, This was way easier and less stressful for me because whenever I needed information from the artists I texted them and usually go a response within a day. I would have saved lot of time if I had also been contacting everyone by phone from the beginning.