Tett Centre & Boys & Girls Club team up for unique youth arts program

Mandy Marciniak

Kingston Heritage | February 21, 2017

News - Grafitti art, installation art and screen-printing aren’t things typically associated with youth arts programs, but in the Kaboom! Arts After School program at the Tett Centre, they are just the beginning.

The program originally launched as a pilot at the Tett in the spring of 2016 and now, because of its success and thanks to a grant from the Ontario 150 fund, it is gearing up for another season.

“The program runs in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club and it really seeks to empower youth through the arts,” explained Artistic Director of the program Mat Poirier. “They will decide the work that we are doing here week- to-week and what direction they want it to go in.”

The program, designed for youth ages 13-18, also offers youth an opportunity to work with and learn from artists who live and work in Kingston.

“They will be here as guides and mentors for the participants and they will also show them the opportunities that are available in terms of jobs and careers in the arts,” said Poirier.

During the programs first session on Feb. 15, local artist Barb Danielewski led the group and she was looking forward to hearing what they had to say.

“Today we really just want to hear what they think and get an understanding of what they want to explore in the coming weeks,” she said. “We don’t want to bring in an artist to do watercolour painting when they want graffiti art, so this is really an introductory session to see what they want.”

For Danielewski, art focuses on three main ingredients: the tools that artists use; the themes they want to explore and the questions they want to ask; and the audience they hope to reach.

Participants in the Kaboom! Arts After School program at the Tett Centre on Feb. 15

Youth artists Dallas Macphail (left) and Nathaniel Moore 'Leave their mark' during the Kaboom! Arts After School program at the Tett Centre on Feb. 15. 

“We want to get an idea what the three ingredients are for the youth here and then bring it together just like a recipe and create the program with them,” she said. “It will also help Mat decide which artists to invite based on what the youth want.”

Young artist Nathaniel Moore, who also participated in the pilot project of Kaboom, hopes to get as much as he can out of the program.

“I learned about a lot of different art forms that I hadn’t explored or appreciated in the past,” he said. “It was an overall good experience and the atmosphere is really welcoming and you get to express yourself in ways you may not have the opportunity to otherwise, so I am looking forward to more of that.”

This time around, Kaboom will focus on creating works that will be showcased in the fall of 2017 and will also express Kingston in relation to Canada’s 150th birthday.

“What that showcase is we don’t know yet,” said Poirier. “It will really be up to the youth and what they produce and how things progress with them. It is exciting to see what they come up with.”

Mandy Marciniak is a reporter for the Kingston Heritage and Frontenac Gazette. She can be reached at mmarciniak@metroland.com . Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.