This past week, I went out into Scarborough again to check out the work the Arts for Children and Youth are doing in the Teesdale neighbourhood. Arts for Children and Youth’s mandate (as taken from their website) is: to engage young people living in priority neighbourhoods in high quality and accessible arts educational programs that are meaningful, relevant and collaboratively developed with community and education partners. AFCY positions arts programs in schools and neighbourhood venues as a means of building community, and empowering marginalized children and youth to reach their full potential as artists and social contributors.
The first thing that hit me when I got to the neighbourhood, was how engaged everyone seemed to be. The neighbourhood is a cul-du-sac of 4 TCH buildings. But unlike so many neighbourhoods I’ve been to, there was so much going on. We were met at the end of the street with the sounds and smells of a community barbecue going on in the park. There were kids playing basketball, beautiful flowers in all of the gardens and the mural project just beginning to get started for the day.
The project in Teesdale consisted of the hiring of youth leaders from the community to create a mosaic mural on the wall surrounding the community basketball court. They did this under the leadership of a professional artist and Arts for Children and Youth. The day I went, they held as event where the youth leaders invited members of the community to help work on the mural.
It was a great success. So many people came out to find out what was going on, really interested in the developing piece of public art at the end of their street. I love public art and it was really exciting to see this project develop. A video on the AFCY project in Teesdale is coming soon.
For more information, check out www.afcy.ca