Thursday, December 17, 2015

Guest Artist: Ontario Culture Talks for Ministry of Arts and Culture

Lora Northway shared her thoughts on the role the arts plays in the lives of youth, as well as successes and challenges as an artist on Ontario. “There’s something surreal about defending arts and culture, but we need to. Culture is life-enhancing, defines our personal and national identities, and is important to all of us.” Northway’s personal experience as an artist helped her to “find out who I was, and learn to love myself.” Die Active Art Collective, which mentors and supports emerging young artists with over 540 members ranging in age from 14 to 30, is important, explains Northway, “because it lets youth see ourselves in the city we live in… This structure of creating together, learning from each other, sharing it and watching it change us is powerful. Other generations can understand us, hear our voice, and better appreciate us.”
Northway emphasized that youth should be given more opportunities to receive funding and resources. They need to be empowered and given the chance to access the tools necessary for success as artists. “Arts organizations need guaranteed core funding. Without a platform like DefSup, youth culture would be non-existent in this community”, as the artist-run gallery is the portal through which the youth programs are run. “Culture is shaped by its participants… We need to fund existing structures that work, and open new funding opportunities for youth-led initiatives. Structures around art and culture can sometimes be exclusionary and intimidating; we have to drop expectations and stereotypes, and respect youth by giving them authentic support, getting them involved in all parts of the process.”

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