CreArt mentors future community leaders through the arts
Eight years ago, a small group of volunteers created a community-based organization to promote accessible art and community spaces. Two years ago, CreArt Edmonton took the next step and became a not-for-profit organization.
CreArt Edmonton remains energetically involved in community projects. Activities focus on people who may have barriers to artistic involvement, be they youth, newcomers, artists, or musicians. Volunteers run all the programs.
Sebastian Barrera, one of the organization’s founders, details an impressive list of projects and programs to take CreArt to the end of this year, all on a budget of $4,000.
“Last year, our budget was $1,000. We did all our programs on a shoestring,” says Barrera. Looking to the future, he would like to see an annual budget of $70,000. A fundraising campaign will soon kick in. “Watch for it,” he says.
One of the first steps, says Barrera, is to increase CreArt’s free membership from 69 to 200 members. To join, visit www.creartedmonton.com and click on Membership.
This year’s goals are exciting and well underway.
Free online workshops
Every week, CreArt develops seven hours of free online instruction, including how to play the guitar, ukulele, and violin. The goal is to reach 340 hours of workshops this year.
Heart of the City – CreArt Edmonton Youth Stage
From June to the first week of August, an online youth stage will offer mentorship to emerging artists. Youth run the entire program, from creating the bright and engaging poster on the CreArt Edmonton website to organizing the one hour of performances held every week. A youth host will introduce two performers weekly. Applications to perform are being accepted until April 21 through the CreArt website.
“We want young people in the community to grow into community leaders,” Barrera explains. “We want our members to become mentors to others and encourage them to become community organizers.”
KinnArt Ravine Mural Project
Anyone walking Kinnaird Ravine will notice and enjoy the murals placed along the path to the river valley starting at Sheriff Robertson Park. This year, due to weather damage, 20 of the original CreArt-created murals will be replaced by September. New images will once again be done by people who have never created art before. Professional artists will act as mentors.
Short film festival
One of CreArt’s missions is to introduce the idea of free education in arts and community development to a wide range of Edmontonians. Four short films will reflect four newcomer communities through the eyes of an artist. The films, no longer than 10 minutes each, will be presented by the end of 2021 in four Zoom events, each featuring a filmmaker talking about culture and inspirations.
“The CreArt goal is to mentor youth today who will be the community mentors of the future,” says Barrera. “Anyone can join through our website. Everyone is a potential mentor. And we do it all without charge to anyone.”
There are several ways to support CreArt. In-kind donations of space to set up activities, events, and workshops are welcome, as are donations of art supplies, mass media equipment, and computers. CreArt also accepts donations of musical instruments.
Lastly, a monetary donation, however small, allows CreArt to achieve its goal of providing access to creative programming across Edmonton.
Feature Image: CreArt spearheaded the creation of the mural set along Kinnaird Ravine. | Supplied