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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton Museum and Archives prepares to reopen

Current exhibit explores the historical relationship between sports and military

RCMP, BC Coroners Service investigate drowning in Penticton

Incident occurred on afternoon of Aug. 11, 2020

Morning Start: Women can give birth after they die

Your morning start for Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020

COVID-19 outbreak at Oliver farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Penticton Community Centre prepares for reopening

The community centre will open Aug. 13 with many precautions in place

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

Summerland council to examine meeting options

Present livestreaming has been plagued with sound quality issues

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Floating concert to shake Shuswap Lake

Pair of bands booked to play floating concert at the Sea Store on Sept. 5

Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Man accused of killing Red Deer doctor says he does not remember attack

Appearing before a judge, Deng Mabiour, 54, rambled about being sick and needing a doctor

New yoga studio takes over West Kelowna Hot Box Yoga space

Perfect Balance Yoga and Fitness opened on July 6

Syrian from Shuswap witnesses devastation in Lebanon

‘Three, four, five minutes later, smoke covered the whole area…’

Teen killer Kelly Ellard gets day parole extension, allowing up to 5 days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Most Read