In mid-February, Ronnie and I had the fun of leading workshops for two groups of kids with the Out-of-School Care program. This was definitely a demographic we hadn’t explored at Britannia yet, and an essential one because a huge part of Britannia’s sparkle is the presence of so many children and youth. Having had such a fruitful session with the Elders, we were excited to bring their words to the kids and see what they would do with them.
Ronnie spent the night before compiling and organizing words from the Elder’s wordcloud creation session. On Valentine’s Day, we sliced dozens if not hundreds of words up with the paper cutter at the Info Centre and headed over to the Out-of-School care building. We had a hand-drafted Valentine’s card template for each place setting. Our set-up of art materials was impeccable, soon to be happily destroyed by a crowd of 5-7 year olds.
It was quiet at first, and we played with making our own pieces, wondering if any kids would, in fact, materialize. At the stroke of 3:10pm, there were shouts, laughter, and bangs on the closed door. We looked at each other – they’re here!!!
After getting them excited about the Box of Light idea and making art with words from Elders in the community, we ushered them over to the tables. We encouraged kids to add words they loved that were missing, and decorate their own “Valentine to Britannia”. It was incredible how every child had their own take on the instructions we’d given, their own creative intent to express. Some really took to it and were super focused, others dumped the box of words on the table and cut their hearts up into slivers like performance artists. It was a lovely mayhem, and 45 minutes later we emerged with some beautiful pieces:
The next day was a repeat performance with 7 – 10 year olds – a bit of a tougher crowd (!), but there were a few who, again, really took to it and enjoyed the challenge of working with words. All in all it was a fun experience and made me want to sit down with the kids and really get to know them – so many imaginative thoughts going through those little heads. An enormous source of light for the community to be sure. We look forward to sharing their work with the Elders, passing the belated Valentines along!