Each month, Awesome Kingston awards a $1,000 grant to a local project that trustees believe will keep Kingston awesome. Last May, the Forworld Studios x Youth Diversion ArtFest project received this honor.
This collaborative, land-based arts education program supports at-risk youth through free art workshops open to all youth in need of a safe space. The project includes workshops and an exhibition in an art gallery, which will allow young people to see their works on display.
Forworld Studios Artist Collective is a group of young community artists who seek to create an inclusive, sustainable and accessible art scene here in Kingston. Co-founded by Francisco Corbett and William Carroll, Forworld Studios was created on the foundation of building a better, more inclusive and accessible creative community, Carroll shared.
“The first stage of Forworld’s existence was a shared studio space for emerging local artists where we could collaborate on projects, connect with each other, share funding opportunities, and build a space that we could all call our creative home,” he continued. “Now more established and less impulsive, Forworld has entered its second phase. Building on the original idea of shared space and nurturing our individual careers, we are now able to give back, connect with the local community, share our knowledge and skills with organizations like Youth Diversion, all creating meeting spaces for creatives through activities like game nights.”
The project started in mid-May and will continue until the end of June. Workshops are held at Youth Diversion, 559 Bagot Street, and Douglas Fluhrer Park.
“We are student-centred; which means we let young people lead using their own creative imaginations, and we adjust our programming based on young people’s interest,” said Cat Rose, who joined the Forworld Collective in December. “We create alongside and with young people, sharing artistic ideas and new ways to get messy and creative. A big part of our workshops is about learning and expressing yourself through art. We hope to forge bonds among young people, instill an enduring love for the arts, and maintain a safe space of which young people can be active creators and participants.
Money from the Awesome Kingston grant will go towards supplies for the workshops, including disposable cameras, tie-dye kits and craft materials. Any remaining funds will support the gallery’s exhibition at the end of the program, according to Rose.
“We’re taking a break from youth programming for the month of July to focus on Forworld summer camp,” Rose noted, “but we’ll start planning more youth programming in August. We’ve spoken with a few arts organizations , such as the Kingston School of Art and the Tett Centre, who want us to run programs in natural spaces near their youth facilities. We hope to expand our reach, partner with more youth-focused organizations and visit more urban natural spaces We also want to reflect on and improve our programming after getting feedback from young people currently involved in ArtFest.
Spring workshops are open, but anyone with questions or needing transportation can contact Victoria from Youth Diversion Outreach at 613-305-3292.
“We certainly plan to continue to run workshops in the future for young people who otherwise don’t have access to an arts community, art materials, and a natural space to create,” Rose said.
Connect with Forworld Studios on their Instagram page and via email at [email protected]. Currently they are looking for used camera donations to teach photography skills, and for a photo walk they plan to hold in June, as well as gallery space for late June/early July to accommodate the community to see the work of young people. .
Learn more about Awesome Kingston and their monthly grants here.