Saskatchewan youth selected as national arts leader

By: Michelle Brownridge April, 2012

It was a surprise to Broadview School student Adam Wyatt when his mother asked him if he would like to travel to Toronto to participate in a new program focused on youth leadership initiated by ArtsSmarts called the 21st Century Youth Creativity Challenge (21YCC). “The principal of my school and a teacher nominated me to be on the committee because of my previous involvement with ArtsSmarts programs.” explains Wyatt.

Broadview School, an active participant in ArtsSmarts programs in Saskatchewan, has a high level of involvement in the arts, especially drama. “Almost half of the students at my school are involved in drama.” says Wyatt. “I come from more of a sports background, so to be more involved in the arts was really different for me.”

ArtsSmarts is a dynamic approach to teaching, learning, doing and thinking that has been changing the lives of students, artists, educators, and entire schools and communities since 1998. The program generates and sustains innovative school partnerships centred around the arts.

"21YCC is a grant program that is trying to get students to take a more active role in ArtsSmarts programs by having them lead the projects instead of just participating in them.” says Wyatt, “Students will design the projects and actually put them on themselves with the help of a teacher and an artist if they are selected to receive a grant.”

The National Youth Advisory Committee (NYAC) consists of Wyatt, Charles MacDougall, the official spokesperson for the NYAC and five other students. The students range in age from grades eight to twelve and are from both rural and urban areas, living in both of Canada’s official languages and celebrating a range of socio ethnic backgrounds. “Once we receive the grant applications, we are going to meet up in Toronto and evaluate them using the criteria we developed at our first meeting. It is going to be a tough job to adjudicate the applications and decide what projects are going to receive the available grants.” explains MacDougall.

The first meeting of the NYAC was held in January 2012 in Toronto when and where the committee developed the application forms that youth will use to apply for the program, as well as the logo for the program. "At the first meeting we also really focused on team-building and leadership, getting to know each other and forming the team was really important,” says MacDougall.

Wyatt's work for the NYAC isn't finished when he gets home. "We have to promote ArtsSmarts and the 21YCC by putting out a call for the program and by going to talk to our teachers and principals and encouraging them to send in applications.” says Wyatt. “We also have to go around to schools in our area to tell them about the project and urge them to take advantage of this great leadership opportunity."

Adam, Charles and the rest of the committee will be meeting in Toronto again in March 2012 to jury the applications. To find out more about ArtsSmarts in Saskatchewan please visithttp://www.artsboard.sk.ca to learn more about ArtsSmarts, the 21YCC or the NYAC, please visithttp://www.artssmarts.ca. In Saskatchewan, ArtsSmarts programs are delivered by the Saskatchewan

Arts Board and supported in part by SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Lotteries and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education.