The first Youth Art Symposium hopes to bring together young people and established artists. Photo: Courtesy of Youth Art Symposium.
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Conference brings together youth and gallery owners

Starting Nov. 10, the Ottawa Art Gallery Youth Council will launch a three-day Youth Art Symposium at the University of Ottawa. Attendees will have the chance to both engage with visiting artists and discuss the development of new artistic outreach programs in Ottawa. Participants will also be able to voice their opinions on what sort of exhibitions they’d like to see featured in local galleries, and exercise their creative skills.

“We’re really trying to emphasize the importance of sharing opinions and giving suggestions. People from museums and galleries are listening for what the participants of this event have to say,” said Candide Uyanze, a third-year U of O communications student and member of the Ottawa Art Gallery’s Youth Council.

The most anticipated events include a keynote address by Morgana Mckenzie,

a Canadian film director, cinematographer, colourist, and editor. Mckenzie’s body of work has won her many awards, including the Canada 150 Award for Best Film for her film, Atlas World. On the Saturday, Branch Out Theatre artistic director Naomi Tessler will lead workshops in poetry and multisensory drawings. That evening, the Youth Arts Symposium is hosting a party at the National Arts Centre where participants will listen to music and engage in artistic endeavours.

“There will be DJs there, and live art, little stations where you can make art. Our artist-in-residence will also be making poems on the spot—so you can just give her words and she’ll text you a poem,” said Uyanze. “There will be a lot going on that night. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The weekend will wrap up with a panel discussion with established artists and arts educators discussing methods for artistic training.

Youth art symposiums are a relatively new addition to the many activities Canada’s art community organizes. The Youth Art Symposium works to remind established Canadian artists that they should convene with young, aspiring artists to foster excitement about the future of national artistry.

It is clear that this sort of event becomes an integral part of the artistic process. Not only does a convention like this help to expand an artist’s social network, it also allows facilitates collaboration between artists. According to fourth-year visual arts student and Youth Council member Anika Lalonde, this sort of event allows people to explore “what kinds of resources are offered and what kinds of experiences people can have” as emerging artists.

The coordinators explained that this event was open to persons of all backgrounds. “One of the things that we want to see happen through this event, is that a greater number of people become integrated into the arts community,” Uyanze said.

Their ultimate hope is that attendees will be inspired to push beyond conventional art forms and explore the realm of interdisciplinary arts.

“Combining different art forms to create art that people have never seen before,” Lalonde said. “There should be less convention in art.”

Those interested in attending the Youth Art Symposium can find tickets on their Facebook event page.


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