An artist puts some final touches on a painting in the Shatford Centre, where the Open Studio is held for Penticton youth. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Optimism for youth Open Studio, despite shaky start

Nobody showed up the first week, but Penticton youth are starting to sign up for the arts space

A new youth program encouraging participation in the arts has gotten off to a shaky start, but organizers say they’re seeing support trickle in.

The Shatford Centre held its first Open Studio for youth last Saturday, and will be running the space as a drop-in arts space for youth weekly until Nov. 25.

Related: Youth need a place to turn for community and hope

“We’re running them with the purpose to encourage youth ages 12 to 24 to kind of come in and utilize a safe space,” said organizer Nadine Hajjaj.

“It’s very key that we emphasize that this is a safe space, a judgement free zone, a place where they have access to resources, access to mentors, for their creative outlets, whether it’s fine arts, whether it’s drawing, painting, whether it’s singing, poetry, dancing.

“We want to make sure they’re getting the space to do that, and Shatford is, I think, such a key place for this community in general, and for Penticton in general.”

Though the Shatford Centre has been in the community for a century, Hajjaj said the centre has been underutilized by youth in the community, catering mostly to more senior members of the community.

“This is a place that’s willing to give resources, and I don’t think people realize what Shatford has to offer,” she said. “So Open Studio’s kind of like the hope to draw that demographic in.”

Related: Fundraising campaign for youth resource centre launched

Hajjaj said it was a bit ironic that the Shatford Centre tended to be overlooked by youth, when the building is on the same campus as one of the city’s high schools.

Hajjaj said nobody showed up for the first open studio, but said by early this week six youths had signed up for the second event coming this weekend.

The main issue, Hajjaj said, was a bit of marketing — not getting the message out in time for young people to get involved. Now, the group has reached out to schools and youth programs, including the YES Project, which is intending to open a youth centre.

“We’re on social media, we’ve tried to spread the word,” Hajjaj said. “We’re just everywhere, really trying to push and let people know that we’re here.”

Organizers with Arts Rising had also set up a youth pop-up gallery during the festival, but toward the end were looking at how they could perpetuate the gallery as a space for youth to get engaged with arts.

Related: Don’t let the pop-up gallery fall down

Hajjaj said the groups aren’t linked, but said it would be important for the groups to get together and support one another.

“So there is going to be effort on our end, definitely, to try to collaborate with them to come to something together,” she said.

Hajjaj said part of the goal is to provide something productive for youth to get involved in, in a city where youth feel they are limited in their activities, and pointed to issues with drugs and the mental health crisis in the city.

“The fact of the matter is that kids don’t know what’s available out there for them, because there’s a lot of people working inside that are working really, really hard for these kids,” Hajjaj said.

“But the problem is if we can’t get kids through the door of anything, we can’t help them in any way. So how do we create this exposure,? How do we create this accessibility for them? It needs to be little things. It needs to be places where they can come in and be themselves.”

The event is held Saturdays starting at 9 a.m.

Related: Anxiety and addiction new reality for many youth


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton businesses in the running for Small Business BC Awards

Two Penticton businesses have made it to the finals of the 15th Annual Small Business BC Awards

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

Penticton Vees forward Klack clicking with new linemates

Sidelined with an injury for 63 days Chris Klack is back with the Penticton Vees

Princeton woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Foundry linked with new youth mental health web site

New website to improve mental health and wellness for young people in B.C.

Washroom blaze at Princess Maggie

Fire crews say the fire appears to have started in the washroom’s garbage bin

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

It’s all in the black for Roots & Blues

While they didn’t rake in the dough, the 2017 event made a modest profit

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Christopher Garnier appealing murder conviction in death of off-duty cop

Jury found Garnier guilty in December, rejecting his claim she died accidentally during rough sex

Most Read