Workshops let kids, families experience variety of expressive arts
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Kids and families had the opportunity to experience different types of expressive art during the first ever Whole Heart Expression workshops on August 29 and 30 at Queen Elizabeth District High School.
The workshops were put on by the Sioux Lookout Youth Poverty Reduction Strategy project, which is funded by the Ontario Government and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Some of the activities featured at the free workshops were painting, scrapbooking, sock-puppet drama, beadwork, cultural teachings, puzzle art, yoga and dancing.
When asked how the workshops came together, coordinator of the Sioux Lookout Youth Poverty Reduction Strategy project Brenda Dovick explained, “We discussed as a group how we could bring youth, family and community members together in a place that’s fun, interactive and has service providers or educators. Recently we had a group, supported by the youth poverty reduction strategy, that went through an eight-day expressive arts training and that really got us talking more about how we can create an inter-generational art gallery. It was a combination of both that created this vision.”
Approximately 80 to 100 visitors stopped by each day to check out the different workshops. The variety in the workshops, along with the Reach Ahead program, led to more diverse age groups.
“It was good to see all ages from the tiniest ones to some of the oldest ones getting involved. We wanted to provide a lot of variety and different expressions of art to reach a wider range of age groups. It’s also been great being a part of the Reach Ahead program for youth going in to grade nine, so they were an active part of it as well,” said Dovick.
Nicholas Kowalow, who was teaching participants woodworking and medical uses for birch bark and diamond willow bark, said he had a great experience teaching youth throughout the workshops.
“The kids were fantastic. They were really curious and asked some good questions. It was awesome to see them so in to it and wanting to hear different teachings and stories,” Kowalow shared.
Sioux Lookout could be seeing more expressive art opportunities down the road. Dovick said the goal is to keep trying to bring expressive arts to different areas of the community.
“We’re trying to play an active part in bringing expressive art to school environments as well as in community spaces because we think it’s important to do the inter-generational linking. We already have people talking about next year, which is exciting,” she concluded.