A really awesome innovative youth leadership project has been happening in five Manitoba communities over the past year-and-a-half in:
- Gladstone – Gladstone and area Rec Centre
- Carberry – Carberry Plains Arts Council
- Steinbach – Steinbach Arts Council
- Flin Flon – Flin Flin Arts Council
- Morden – Back 40 Festival (and high school)
Thanks to funding from The Department of Canadian Heritage, and under the initiative, leadership and coordination of the Manitoba Arts Network (MAN), and facilitator, Sue Hemphill. The name of the Youth project is YEP! for Youth Engagement Project.
Youth from 13 – 21 years old have been working together and forming committees with support, guidance, and encouragement from their local arts council or presenting organization. Their goal: to plan all aspects of a youth-oriented professional arts performance (music, theatre, and dance). For a year-and-a-half, they have been mentored in all aspects of bringing professional performing artists to young audiences in their community. Youth identify performing artists of interest, poll the youth in their community to determine what performance they are most interested in seeing, negotiate contracts, advertise the performance, fundraise (in Year Two), and manage the professional performing arts presentation project.
In Year One, the performances and community workshops were to be free of charge and therefore were fully funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage.
In Year Two, only some of the required funds are provided so a ticket fee can be charged to generate the rest of the revenue needed for the show. The Year One performances and workshops that the artists gave in all five communities were very well received. The artists were:
Currently, we are in Year Two of the YEP pilot and the youth in the five communities are in the process of selecting their artists.
In October 2018, the annual MAN Showcase (an arts festival and conference) is being held in Portage La Prairie. MAN has invited youth involved in YEP to attend the Showcase, where they will take in the professionals performances at night, and participate in workshops and networking during the day. Each YEP representative will demonstrate leadership qualities and further exercise job-related skills. MAN, through funding support, is able to cover some of the costs for the students to attend Showcase, but additional funding is needed to cover the remaining costs.
Sue Hemphill is our Youth Engagement Project facilitator. Sue has provided consultation and facilitation for multiple workshops and projects for both the Manitoba Arts Network and Arts and Cultural Industries (ACI). Her background and training in the arts and cultural sector makes her a uniquely creative and engaging educator and organizational developer. http://www.healthyhive.ca/