Guelph, ON – January 27, 2022 – Guelph Arts Council is pleased to announce that its 2021 Youth Opportunities Award goes to Alexa Colette, Maeve Hind, and Jessica Wilson, all students at the University of Guelph with an interest in psychology and the arts. They have come together to bring art into the new Maplewoods Centre for Family Therapy and Child Psychology.
Alexa, Jessica and Maeve presented a proposal to provide opportunities for youth to be involved in community-engaged art making. Their project will engage other students in a call for submissions for two 6’x8’ murals to be painted within the halls of the clinic. Students will work collaboratively on the murals and be paid for their work.
In collaboration with Margaret Lumley, Professor and Director of Clinical Training for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology at the University of Guelph, Alexa, Jessica and Maeve are looking forward to integrating themes of healing, wellness and resilience, as well as to including students struggling with mental health, addictions and/or from groups identified as BIPOC, LGBTQ2I+ and those with disabilities. They stress the importance of prioritizing this demographic “as typically opportunities for these groups are not as accessible.”
The award jury appreciated that the proposal targets underserved groups, that the funds provided will go directly to young artists, and that the murals will live on to impact others. “These murals will be a refuge for patients, workers, and students within the building and will remain as reminders of hope,” the group stated in their proposal.
The applicants also noted that, “This is an exciting time to bring the community together and reap the therapeutic benefits of the arts, after extensive isolation and lack of engagement.”
In announcing the recipients of this year’s award, Guelph Arts Council Executive Director Patti Broughton says: “We are excited about this project and grateful to be able to offer this award annually thanks to the GAC Youth Opportunities Fund managed by The Guelph Community Foundation. GAC would like to be able to provide even more funding to support projects that engage youth in the arts and welcome any expressions of interest from potential donors in our community.”