Public art project helps kids flourish

Youth collaborated on artwork to be installed along Bunn’s Creek pathway

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This article was published 17/08/2018 (1457 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

 

Bunn’s Creek Centennial Park will soon be home to an exciting new community art project.
This past year, the Knowles Centre (2065 Henderson Hwy.) was among seven community organizations taking part in the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Youth With Art program. As a result, the centre was paired with Becky Thiessen, an artist who came to work with the youth at Knowles and develop a community project that will be displayed along the Bunn’s Creek pathway.
“We came up with the idea of bringing their art to the trail,” explained Thiessen. “It’s a place where kids go for (phys-ed) or just to take a walk.”
“Our kids use that trail a lot,” Pam Jansen, recreation co-ordinator for the Knowles Centre, confirmed. “We do a lot of bike riding there. It’s a good place for the kids to go to unwind.”
For months, participating youth at the centre have been working on contemporary art pieces to be a part of the project.
“It was really nice to just sit down and make stuff with them,” Thiessen said. “It was something that could just take their minds off other issues.”
Along with students working in the Knowles Centre’s art program, students at John G. Stewart School’s wood shop created a series of seven wood carvings, based on the Indigenous Seven Scared Teachings.
“We thought, why don’t we all do this together?” Jansen said.
The artwork was unveiled for the first time  with a public reception on Aug. 16 at the Edge Gallery (210-611 Main St.). The exhibition will be on display during regular gallery hours until Aug. 29.
“To see how the kids flourish with this and really expand their skills, to see them excited about how things turn out, it’s really cool,” Jansen said. “I’m hoping kids who are part of the project can come together to see it.”
Once the exhibition is complete, the City of Winnipeg’s Parks and Open Spaces department will install the pieces along the trail.
“It’ll be so neat to have the residents of that neighbourhood come out, it’s like a treasure hunt,” said Thiessen, who added there will be information at each end of the trail about the project.
Funding for the installation and preparing the artwork to withstand the elements to the tune of $20,000 came through North Kildonan’s land dedication reserve.
“Bunn’s Creek Park is a gem in our community. The more conversation piece items we have along the trail the better,” said Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), who brought the project to the East Kildonan-Transcona Community Committee for approval on March 13. 
Jansen hopes that the artwork will help dispel some misconceptions the community may harbour regarding the youth who attend the Knowles Centre.
“They have so much talent,” she said. “Sometimes these kids get labelled as bad kids, but they’re really not. They’ve just had some bad times.”

 

Bunn’s Creek Centennial Park will soon be home to an exciting new community art project.

Supplied photo Youth at the Knowles Centre and students at John G. Stewart School collaborated with artists Becky Thiessen to create a public art display that will be installed along the pathway at Bunn’s Creek Centennial Park celebrating the Seven Sacred Teachings. The public can preview the artwork at the Edge Gallery (210-611 Main St.) until Aug. 29 before it is installed along Bunn’s Creek in September. Pictured, from left: artist Becky Thiessen and Pam Jansen, recreation co-ordinator for the Knowles Centre, at the Edge Gallery on Aug. 16.

This past year, the Knowles Centre (2065 Henderson Hwy.) was among seven community organizations taking part in the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Youth With Art program. As a result, the centre was paired with Becky Thiessen, an artist who came to work with the youth at Knowles and develop a community project that will be displayed along the Bunn’s Creek pathway.

“We came up with the idea of bringing their art to the trail,” explained Thiessen. “It’s a place where kids go for (phys-ed) or just to take a walk.”

“Our kids use that trail a lot,” Pam Jansen, recreation co-ordinator for the Knowles Centre, confirmed. “We do a lot of bike riding there. It’s a good place for the kids to go to unwind.”

For months, participating youth at the centre have been working on contemporary art pieces to be a part of the project.

“It was really nice to just sit down and make stuff with them,” Thiessen said. “It was something that could just take their minds off other issues.”

Along with students working in the Knowles Centre’s art program, students at John G. Stewart School’s wood shop created a series of seven wood carvings, based on the Indigenous Seven Scared Teachings.

“We thought, why don’t we all do this together?” Jansen said.

The artwork was unveiled for the first time  with a public reception on Aug. 16 at the Edge Gallery (210-611 Main St.). The exhibition will be on display during regular gallery hours until Aug. 29.

“To see how the kids flourish with this and really expand their skills, to see them excited about how things turn out, it’s really cool,” Jansen said. “I’m hoping kids who are part of the project can come together to see it.”

Once the exhibition is complete, the City of Winnipeg’s Parks and Open Spaces department will install the pieces along the trail.

“It’ll be so neat to have the residents of that neighbourhood come out, it’s like a treasure hunt,” said Thiessen, who added there will be information at each end of the trail about the project.

Funding for the installation and preparing the artwork to withstand the elements to the tune of $20,000 came through North Kildonan’s land dedication reserve.

“Bunn’s Creek Park is a gem in our community. The more conversation piece items we have along the trail the better,” said Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), who brought the project to the East Kildonan-Transcona Community Committee for approval on March 13. 

Jansen hopes that the artwork will help dispel some misconceptions the community may harbour regarding the youth who attend the Knowles Centre.

“They have so much talent,” she said. “Sometimes these kids get labelled as bad kids, but they’re really not. They’ve just had some bad times.”

Sheldon Birnie

Sheldon Birnie
Community Journalist

Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at sheldon.birnie@canstarnews.com Call him at 204-697-7112

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