• By: Tori McNeely

YAS! Youth Art Symposium

The Ottawa Art Gallery invites young people to join and lead the conversation on making art more accessible to youth. During the three-day event funded by Ontario 150, participants will have the opportunity to connect with people in the arts to discuss what they want from their museums and public galleries. This is a chance for youth to get inspired and talk back.

The event is designed by youth for youth and is a large partnership-based event reliant on the collaboration of 5 major galleries from across Ontario including the Ottawa Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, Museum London, Workers Arts and Heritage Centre and Thunder Bay Art Gallery. Those who wish to attend can register and receive access to presentations, youth-led discussion groups, artist workshops, and much more!

Stephanie Nadeau, Head of Public, Educational and Community Programs, discussed the importance of involving the voices of the people the gallery serves when she says, “The symposium was inspired by a need to connect with youth and grow our programming in response to actual needs in the community. We’ve never had a cross-the-board conversation on youth programming in terms of youth as collaborators with art galleries and museums.”

On Friday, 18-year-old filmmaker Morgana McKenzie will deliver the keynote address. McKenzie is an award-winning director of short films including Atlas World, Ellie, We All Go the Same, Kurayami no Wa and GIFTS. She is the recipient of the Best Fiction Film from the young filmmaker division of TIFF in 2016, Best Direction Under 25 at the 2015 Ottawa Independent Video Awards, and Best Emerging Female Filmmaker award at the 2014 National Film Festival for Talented Youth.

On Saturday, theatre artist, Naomi Tessler will provide a workshop on multi-sensory drawing and Museum London’s Dominique Cho and Isabel Higgon will present “How to take the blah out of blogging: what do youth want from online content.”

Youth can look forward to a panel discussion with Cody Coyote, Jaime Koebel, Melanie Yugo, Malika Welsh. The four creative professionals will discuss their experience as givers and receivers of support in a panel entitled Who’s Mentoring Who? Learning as Exchange.

“I think it would be an interesting possibility for youth to travel and contribute to the conversation in another city, in another context, to really understand what these questions mean elsewhere,” says Nadeau.

These are just a few of the many activities on the event’s agenda! Visit the Ottawa Art Gallery for more details on the program and how to register for the event which takes place Friday November 10th – Sunday November 12th at the University of Ottawa.