I thought it would be good to begin this shiny new blog by sharing some of the happenings around Art Forms over the past year, and give a glimpse of what is coming in 2014.
1. New Programs & Projects
- Push the Point: In May, we worked with 10 youth and the talented Leon Robinson (website) to create a video, and they came up with Hamilton Hometown Love (click here for video). The youth gathered the footage, created the beat, and wrote the spoken word piece that accompanies the video. The piece created shows an awesome sense of pride for our hometown, the beautiful people here, and the incredible assets here in our city. A hearty thank-you to Ontario Arts Council (OAC's website) for funding the project!
- Flash Lit: With our long-time artist-friend, Gary Barwin (website), we created a postcard project involving about 15 young artists and writers. 10 different postcards were printed with images on the front, and creative writing on the back. These were printed (thanks to the Allegra Footprint Fund!) and given to cafes and shops around the city. Perhaps you have picked one up? These quick "flash lit" postcards were designed to be conversation sparks, though-provoking pieces, and to help us get the word out about programs.
- Voices: In the fall, we hosted a series of performance-based workshops, including song-writing, theatre, dance, hip-hop, and poetry. Though it was a new program, we began to see new faces at each session, so we know there is an interest in the performance arts. We will relaunch Voices in fuller form in March 2014!
- Makers Group: Since Art Crawl provides a great opportunity for young artists to market their art work, it's helpful for these creative youth to have some guidance in how to set up an effective display, how to market artwork wisely, how to make a drawing into an product, and so on. Makers Group was set up to teach some of these skills.
2. Arts Express (Youth Advisory Committee): We began meeting in May of this past year with 6 youth. Over the year, the team helped out at Art Crawl events, including an awesome community mural inside our space at SuperCrawl, and provided helpful insight into current programs, and overall direction for Art Forms in the future. Sneak peek into 2014 - we are planning a new mural project, as well as awareness-building so that the rest of the city (and WORLD!) hears about how important the arts can be for street-involved youth.
3. Rebranding! We changed our name, logo, website, store front sign... a pretty enormous job! "Urban Arts Initiative" was a tad clunky, and not particularly descriptive of the kind of organization we strive to be. "Art Forms" came out of many dreaming & planning sessions from our Steering Committee, Community Strategic Planning session, and a Youth Strategic Planning session.
In April we said a weepy good-bye to Tor Lukasik Foss, wishing him well in his creative work! On a happier note, we hired a Project Developer, Lisa Pijuan-Nomura, in order to spear-head our strategic development, and figure out the perfect, fool-proof solution to find funding for forever. We are really happy that Lisa will continue to work with us into this new year.
There you have it! Our year in review.
Check out next week's blog posting about lessons learned in 2013!