The annual Youth Art Enrichment program, now entering its 17th year, is an annual four-day intensive art program for Yukon youth, hosted by the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson City. It has changed its dates this year and will be held from March 19 to 22 instead of its traditional November schedule.
KIAC’s lead organizer Ange Bonnici explained that the fall months seemed to be getting busier. Between several sports tournaments and the Dept. of Education’s successful Rural Experiential Model week-long event, it has been getting harder for schools to release students and chaperone staff for what amounted to another entire week by the time travel was factored in.
“The decision to move Youth Art Enrichment to the spring (spring break for most Yukon schools) was made in conversation with youth, parents, instructors and teachers,” said Marie-Claire Findlay-Brook, programs manager with KIAC.
“While we very much enjoyed working with schools and having art teachers attend as chaperones, we recognize that it was becoming more and more difficult for schools and participating teachers to find the time and budget to attend.”
This year, KIAC is doing all the organizing, and arranging for chaperones to supervise the Grade 9 to 12 students (13 to 18 years old) during their time here. The offerings for the program vary from year to year, but this year students have been asked to register for one of three possible options, the intention being to have up to 12 students in each of the modules.
Local artist Rian Lougheed-Smith will be teaching printmaking and screenprinting. In this workshop students will make stamps and stencils, learn to silkscreen, and combine techniques to make mixed media pieces.
Whitehorse artist Meshell Melvin will return again this year to offer a course in collage and mixed media. She teaches a painterly approach to collage, building images in new ways with familiar materials, as well as incorporating drawing, painting and relief.
Dawson artist and teacher Angela Edmunds will be teaching stop motion filmmaking. Students will learn how to storyboard, and produce and edit a short film using various materials, including felt, wire, Plasticine and Lego, as well as digital cameras and editing software.
The Youth Art Enrichment program typically attracts students from around the territory. The Department of Education will provide bus transportation for the program. They will travel to Dawson on Sunday and depart for home on Friday.
Students had to apply to be accepted into the course and there is a $150 registration fee to help defray the cost of materials.
Each day begins at the hotel with breakfast and then on to the workshop sites from 9 a.m. to noon and then again, after lunch, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. There is an hour of free time before dinner at 6 p.m. and a variety of evening activities are planned from 7 p.m. to 9 pm, with lights out at the hotel at 11 p.m.
On the last evening, Thursday, there is a closing dinner, an exhibition of the week’s work and an extended evening activity time.
Findlay-Brook says the week provides artistically inclined students with a chance to “hone their skills through daily exercises and explore creative ways to express their ideas.”