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This article was published 8/12/2010 (2301 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Not many young Winnipeg artists get an opportunity to display their work at a prominent downtown gallery.
That might explain why Sienna Leask, 12, is so grateful to be among a handful of youngsters taking part in a unique program being offered by the North End Arts Centre.
The program, which operates out of the Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre on Selkirk Avenue, was established earlier this year to provide youth in the area with an opportunity to participate in activities such as photography, pottery, moccasin-making and painting. Many of their works are currently being featured at the Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery in the Exchange District.
Leask says the program has given her a new appreciation to the power of a paint brush.
"It has opened my eyes to things like colour, what paint can do and ways to paint a picture," she said.
Students enrolled in the program receive instruction and mentorship from professional artists from across Canada.
Jason Baerg, a Toronto visual artist with more than 20 years of experience, has been involved with the program since its inception.
Baerg says one of the most gratifying aspects of his involvement has been seeing the progress of the budding artists.
"It is great to see how their approach to painting and their own creative process has evolved over the last two and a half months," he said.
Baerg says he has noticed that many of the aspiring artists have already started developing their own styles.
"There were really massive improvements week after week," he said.
The results of the students’ efforts will be on display at Urban Shaman until Fri., Dec. 10. The gallery is located at 203-290 McDermot Ave.
Leask says knowing her work is hanging on the walls of such a prestigious venue is a little disconcerting.
"It’s a little weird," she admits.
Niki Little, co-ordinator of the North End Arts Centre, says participation in the program has increased since it was launched in April. She says its success can be linked to the diversity of the program and its participants. More than 350 kids take part in the program each month.
"A wide range of activities helps keep youth interested and coming back and that’s what we like to see," she says.
For more information on the program visit www.artsforall.ca.