New program to help Kelowna youth through art

Image Credit: Kelowna Art Gallery via Facebook

KELOWNA - The Kelowna Art Gallery is pleased to announce the receipt of a $5,000 grant received from the TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board.

The funds will be used to support a new program aimed at engaging local youth which will be delivered in collaboration with the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs. Local youth will explore their creativity through different media and art forms, while receiving supportive instruction from a local professional artist. A variety of creative processes will be covered during the year-long project, including abstract painting, graffiti art, graphic and digital design, photography, drawing, print-making, sculpture, and mixed media.

“We are so excited to be able to offer this specialized program to youth in our community,” Nataley Nagy, Executive Director at the Kelowna Art Gallery, says. “Our hope is that it will open our doors to youth who may not have had the opportunity to explore their creativity and will instill confidence in their artistic abilities.”

Many of the youth at the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club Downtown Youth Centre would normally face barriers to participate in something like art classes. Research shows that art can help youth to build self-esteem and resiliency, and to gain a sense of belonging and community. For youth who struggle with managing their own emotions and behaviour, art can provide an emotional outlet, improve their ability to focus, and can help to keep kids engaged in healthy activities.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Kelowna Art Gallery on this new project,” Sarah MacKinnon, Director at the Downtown Youth Centre, says. “I am hopeful that the gallery can become a space where youth feel safe connecting and trying something new, where they laugh at their failures, and blow their own minds.”

The Kelowna Art Gallery believes that engaging children and youth through art is an absolutely integral part of its role in the community. That commitment can be seen through many of the ongoing programs offered at the Gallery: a school tours program – which gives 6,000 students the chance to visit the Gallery each year – Family Sundays, Art Adventures camps for children, Fridays for Teens, and more.

The Kelowna Art Gallery is located at 1315 Water St. in downtown Kelowna. For more information about current exhibitions, public programming or special events, please visit the Kelowna Art Gallery online at www.kelownaartgallery.com or call 250-762-2226.

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