PAVED Arts Outreach: leaving a lasting community legacy

By: Shaunna Grandish April, 2012

Over the past five years PAVED Arts has made outreach programming a priority for Saskatchewan’s media arts community.

“The PAVED Arts’ outreach program has been very active and since the organization was first established,” says Bilana Velkova, executive director, PAVED Arts. Established in 2003, PAVED Arts is a nonprofit, artist-run centre whose mandate is to support local, regional and national artists working in the ‘PAVED’ arts. The word ‘PAVED’ is an acronym for the art forms: photographic, audio, video, electronic and digital. The centre’s mission is to support artists who work in these media. Currently, it is the only artist-run new media centre in Saskatoon.

According to Velkova, former Outreach Coordinator Aleyna May has helped build a foundation to connect the Aboriginal youth community with the province’s arts and cultural community. While in her position as Outreach Coordinator, May developed over 20 successful partnerships that delivered long lasting and legacy building projects with local organizations, such as: the Core Neighbourhood Youth Coop, the Saskatoon Open Door Society, Saskatoon Health Region to name a few.

With programs and projects reaching more than 500 youth from across Saskatchewan, PAVED Arts outreach programming is helping to make an impact within our communities.

In 2010, a very successful program called Healing Through the Arts came into fruition. Healing Through the Arts was an audio project that offered participants in the group Str8-Up, which consists of young men and women who are exiting gangs, a positive opportunity to express themselves through art and culture.

By providing a safe space and technical assistance, the program helps the youth who took part in this program to develop the confidence to fully express themselves through creativity, explains Velkova.

“The youth left a lasting legacy in our organization and community,” she adds. “They gave us the inspiration and platform to build on future outreach programs.” Several of these outreach programs are also slated to be delivered this year.

One such program is the Urban Aboriginal Radio Broadcast project. According to Velkova, the purpose of this initiative is to enable PAVED Arts to deliver a media arts program for local Aboriginal youth. Partnering with CRU Youth Wellness Centre and Saskatoon’s CFCR Community Radio, the centre will facilitate workshops that will help the participants create their own media and sound projects, which will be later broadcast through the community radio station.

PAVED Arts outreach programming has many positive effects on the community. “The programming provides a safe place for local youth, students, artists and other members of the community to create and have a voice through art,” explains Velkova. “The programming also brings the community together and allows for everyone’s voice to be heard and remembered long after the project has been completed.”

According to Velkova, PAVED Arts would not be able to program, facilitate and deliver outreach projects without the generous support of SaskCulture. PAVED Arts have received funding from several SaskCulture funding programs, such as the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Leadership Fund and the Multicultural Initiatives Fund. “We are always thankful for the support SaskCulture has given us over the years and we look forward to working together on future projects,” adds Velkova.

PAVED Arts also received a grant from Student Summer Works program, administered by SaskCulture, but funded by Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration.

For more information about PAVED Arts, please visit: