Barrie’s Youth Arts Drop-ins Program takes to the road this year

The City’s Youth Arts Drop-ins Program is expanding this year, going on the road to visit community centres, parks and local small businesses.
“By branching out further than downtown, this program will bring accessible, hands-on experiences to neighbourhoods, connecting youth and families with artists and creatives from a wide range of backgrounds and art forms,”  Amanda Dyke, cultural development officer, told council in a memo.
“Not only will the program introduce youth to, and expand upon, their understanding of a broad range of arts activities, it will provide income to artists, organizations and venues across Barrie, developing the local economy.”
The program is free for youth under 19, and features local artists and arts organizations offering monthly workshops introducing a variety of art forms.
“Youth are invited to come and try their hand at art and art-related activities across all disciplines, giving them a chance to try various art forms outside of school and scheduled, registered courses. The program was created in an effort to connect local artists and organizations with young people, as well as open up the Five Points Theatre to a new audience through free arts-based programming,” continues Dyke.
Last year, every Wednesday, the program engaged a number of experts at the Five Points Theatre to lead youth through arts-related activities. Activities spanned a variety of disciplines, including dance, painting, music, and cartooning. About 20 to youth attended the monthly sessions.
“The program has developed its own following with new participants often returning for the next month’s drop-in. Local media attended on several occasions to capture footage and speak to facilitators,” related Dyke.
So far this year, three events have been held: a music jam with Shawn Steinhart at the Five Points Theatre, a poetry jam with newly appointed Poet Laureate, Victoria Butler at the Painswick branch of the Barrie Public Library, and a paint party with Jenny Chen at ArtWonderfull.
“Upcoming drop-in workshops will partner with the Recreation Department for National Youth Week, feature recent Barrie Arts Awards nominees and winners, and will explore animation, gaming, fibre arts, street art and more.”