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How Raising Artists is Encouraging Creativity and Imagination

Raising Artists is an art program designed for children and parents held in SKETCH at Artscape Youngplace and the Centre for Social Innovation (Regent Park) at Daniels Spectrum. We spoke with CEO and founder, Alessandra Moretti, to learn more about how Raising Artists nurtures creativity, imagination and self-expression.

 

Artscape: How did Raising Artists come to be?

Alessandra: One day, I was challenged to think about how I could combine my two dearest passions: children and art. I thought about the environment I was raised in and how art was part of that, and had a lasting effect on my life. Then, I thought about children who are denied opportunities to experience art, and an idea emerged. What if we created a parent-and-child based program, where all participants could experience the joy of the creative process?

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How do you see the vision of Raising Artists in action?

We have had the pleasure of meeting many students and parents; they come to our workshops and return home with myriad new art techniques. Parents tell me all the time how their child uses our class techniques and set-up at home when they paint. This warms my heart and really hits home that what we are doing in the studio is being absorbed by the children. I see them develop confidence in their art and continue to explore their creativity at home. These are skills they can take with them forever.

“We breathe inspiration into each project and let them run wild with it. The end product is one which inspires awe in all of us.”

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Raising Artists clearly believes in the transformative power of creativity. Can you speak more about that?

Deep inside of each of us is a still pool of creativity.  Raising Artists attempts to create a whirlpool in that still pool by promoting imagination as a guiding force, suggesting ideas and teaching the participant to transfer the intangible onto canvas. In this environment we do not allow self-criticism, encouraging artists to hit the reset button on how they see themselves and interpret beauty.

How has Raising Artists been a tool of self-expression or creativity for your team?

The budding artists at Raising Artists have taught me to approach art and life from all angles. There is no one route to beauty; there is no one way to create; there is no one method of design. It is not a one-size-fits-all world, but it is a world that fits all sizes.

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What risks have you taken to establish Raising Artists? Do you have any advice for starting a creativity-oriented business for other entrepreneurs and small business-owners?

Personal time, personal finances and personal advancements were all at risk when I created Raising Artists. But it was the best investment of my life! To other creative entrepreneurs I’d say don’t give up. Every day is a struggle; remember that if being an entrepreneur were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Also, be open to everything! We all have our practices, habits, sequences and schedules.  Throw that book out the window. Be flexible and embrace the unknown and unusual and find beauty in that. There are no rules to creativity, only inspiration.

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What do you think blocks children’s creative development?

A child deprived of experience is a child barred from creativity. Each experience is a seed of creation: galleries, books, magazines, interaction with others, foods, smells, sounds.  We learn from everything we see, hear, eat, touch; this is a physical world.

How can parents and caregivers encourage children to be more creative at home?

By talking, describing, sharing ideas, designing together, group interactions with extended family and friends, and undertaking silly projects, grand projects, small projects, large projects, funny projects, household item projects, pieces-of-the-environment projects, investigations of the natural world together. The potential to create is all around us.  Parents and caregivers need to recognize this before they can encourage children to embrace their potential.

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What do you enjoy about hosting Raising Artists in Artscape buildings?

Raising Artists in Artscape buildings… could it be any more ideal? Artscape buildings are environments that inherently foster creativity through their involvement in local communities. Combined with the boundless young creativity at Raising Artists, Artscape spaces come alive.  The fact that I can carve out a little niche in Artscape for my budding artists tells me there is a place in this world for everyone.

Learn more about Raising Artists at www.raisingartists.ca and follow them on InstagramTwitterFacebook.

Introducing our Interim Curator

Ashley McKenzie-Barnes is our new Interim Curator at Daniels Spectrum, and we’d like to offer her a warm welcome!

Ashley comes to us from The Remix Project as the Creative Arts Program Leader, and Manifesto as the Visual Art Director for the annual Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture. She’s also a practiced graphic designer with tons of experience under her belt. But her portfolio doesn’t stop there; she’s also a volunteer director of CARFAC (Canadian Artists Representation).

Ashley will be working part-time at Daniels Spectrum for the next few months, focusing her efforts on the upcoming Black History Month exhibition (save the date: opening night is Feb 4!), the Feminist Art Conference exhibit and the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

A Powerful Story of Community Love

It was our great pleasure this morning to send out on behalf of an outstanding creative team the press release for Spectrum of Hope, a new video released today that represents a musical collaboration between Mustafa the Poet and Thompson Egbo-Egbo. A gift “by Regent Park, for Regent Park” is how the inspiring team of seven young people who worked on the video with Twice Upon a Time studio described the project, which was supported by the Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo Arts Foundation. We encourage you to watch this powerful and uplifting video immediately, and watch it often. Enjoy!

H.E.A.R.T. (Hungry Eager Artists Rise Together) Showcase & Exhibition

The Ada Slaight Youth Arts Mentorship Program is holding its 2nd annual collaborative showcase and exhibition at Daniels Spectrum on Wednesday, September 10 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. H.E.A.R.T. (Hungry Eager Artists Rise Together) will showcase a variety of art forms including spoken word, singing, dance, visual art, graphic design, photography and mixed-media art from a lineup of 13 young, emerging artists from Regent Park and area.

The entire community is invited to this free event. Come celebrate the talent in Regent Park and the achievements of our youth participants Jae Legit, Simba Wetu, Rafi Abdur, Sarah Meng, Isaac Mbikay, Mandeq Hassan, I-Selah, Nadia, Ahmed Barud, Raima Chakraborty, Vincentia Amoko, Tristan Reid and Khari Richards. In the last six months, these young artists worked with some of the best artists in the city including D’Bi Young, Mayklee Todd and Rich Kidd, as well as talented mentors from their chosen artistic fields, and now they are presenting their work and artistic growth to the world.

Last year’s showcase and exhibition of the Ada Slaight Youth Arts Mentorship Program was held outdoors as part of the annual Sunday in the Park festival, and drew crowds eager to see the rich young talent of the neighbourhood. This year’s event, hosted inside Daniels Spectrum, includes performances and artworks—plus a special surprise—“by Regent Park, for Regent Park.”

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