Two Art Starts programs focusing on music and storytelling wrapped up Jan. 31 with a CD release party at its Yorkdale Shopping Centre location.
The One World: New Generation CD is the recorded culmination of a four-and-a-half-month music program that provided opportunities for youth from underserviced neighbourhoods to work with professional musicians. Participants were coached in writing, performing, recording and producing original music.
The project concept was developed in 2007 when a group of youth from Steeles L’Amoreaux approached Art Starts to mentor them in creating a music program to build healthier relationships amongst their peers, while becoming familiar with the training and tools needed to take musical ideas from concept to completion.
“I come every week because I really enjoy it,” participant Kafaye Rose said in a release. “I get to do what I love – work with music, experiment with different styles and genres, and come up with new ideas.”
The party featured performances by all involved youth, along with mentors Jaydahmann and Krystal Chance.
Digital Stories was made up of female residents from the Neptune Drive community near Bathurst Street and Wilson Avenue and featured participants recording their personal stories of living in the neighbourhood to share.
“The finished product was a DVD and it was played during the party,” said Myra Leibu, program director. “We had a huge turnout from Lawrence Heights, it was a great party. It’s important the programs we offer reflect and celebrate the communities we serve.”
The digital program, in partnership with North York Community House, is part of a broader project exploring safety and violence in Lawrence Heights.
The party also included a create-your-own LEGO art workshop with LEGO artist Ekow Nimako.
Art Starts is a charitable, not-for-profit organization using the arts as a vehicle to encourage social change in Toronto’s underserved neighbourhoods.