Guelph, ON December 5, 2019 – Guelph Arts Council is pleased to announce that the 2019 Youth Opportunities Award will be shared between Guelph Tool Library, which offers affordable hands-on programs aimed at building resilient communities, and Simone Racine, a Grade 11 student at John F. Ross Collegiate Vocational Institute who has been actively involved in the Guelph Youth Council. Both recipients will offer interesting, quite different opportunities for youth in Guelph and Wellington County to become engaged in the arts.

Guelph Tool Library submitted its application for “That’s Sew Sustainable,” a sliding-scale cost, multi-week course for youth that will focus on the “sustainable use of textiles for clothing and creative projects.” Co-ordinated by local artist/facilitator Stephanie Clarke, the course will introduce participants to sewing basics, repair and re-fashion, textile exploration, and patterns and printing. In the process, they will be able to explore new ideas around textiles, and gain a better understanding not only of the mechanics of sewing, but also the fabric industry and how these factors “interact with artists, communities, and the environment.” The award jury commended Guelph Tool Library for its encouragement of meaningful discussions on disposable clothing, quality construction and creative repair.

Simone Racine requested support for a “Positivity Stone Workshop” for which she will gather together a diverse group of teenagers who are interested in opening the conversation about anxiety and mental health. As part of the activity, the participants will decorate stones with positive messages and then place their stones in various locations around the city, beginning the positivity cycle which will be reinforced by others finding the stones and posting photos to Instagram. The jury particularly liked that this was a youth-led project, and appreciated both Simone’s acknowledgement that anxiety is an issue for youth, and her recognition that self-expression through art and discussions about mental health can help “make this world a better place.”   

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. In 2019 Guelph Arts Council is grateful for additional support from Polestar Hearth Bakery.

For more information about the Youth Opportunities Award program and Guelph Arts Council, please visit, phone 519-836-3280, email [email protected]“>[email protected], or drop by our offices at 10C Shared Space, 42 Carden Street, Guelph.

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