Guelph, ON – December 14, 2015 – Guelph Arts Council is pleased to announce that the 2015 Youth Opportunities Award goes to Shera Mekhail for her Creation Station pilot project proposal. Shera is a local visual artist who has worked as a group leader for children and youth groups, and strongly believes that all should have access to art and artful experiences.
The Creation Station project for which she has requested support is intended to be “a sustainable venue that houses materials used by the arts community.” Supplies for this space will be gathered through the collection of “found materials” no longer needed by Guelph individuals, organizations, businesses, companies, and will be available free of charge to youth members, teachers and other youth program staff in the city. Her hope is that the space will also serve as a centre for collaboration and teaching by groups interested in community projects.
In submitting her application, Shera indicated that her goal is to “create an inclusive space for diverse youth to express and connect with the community and each other through projects that incorporate social and non-traditional forms of art making” and to find “green uses for materials otherwise discarded by the community.” She noted that she will be partnering with the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, and that she has their support in securing a location for the Creation Station. Jerushia Allin, Program Supervisor for the Coalition, has already been involved in helping to develop the project and will play an important facilitating role in moving forward.
The award jury commended Shera for her original, innovative idea that is “very much in the spirit of Guelph” with its environmental bent and its aims to develop an arts hub that would help connect youth with meaningful art experiences.
Established in 2009 to take the place of a previous youth awards program dating back to 1982, the Guelph Arts Council Youth Opportunities Award is intended to encourage programs that will initiate, enhance or expand opportunities for children and youth in Guelph and Wellington County to experience or become in engaged in the arts. Funds for the award come from the Guelph Arts Council Youth Opportunities Fund managed by the Guelph Community Foundation.