For the past several months, a class of NSCAD University students have combined their passion for art with a desire to make a difference in their community. On Saturday, June 20, the first Community Arts Day will celebrate the results of these unique partnerships with four open houses in Halifax.
Under the direction of Professor Gene Daniels, nineteen students in NSCAD’s first Community Arts Interactive course collaborated with North End community groups on four children’s arts projects. “This course was designed to introduce students to the world of community art service,” explains Daniels, a faculty member in the university’s Foundation program. “At the heart of this social vision is a belief in the value of cultural and creative expression to affect deep and lasting social change.”
“Community service learning is more than an internship program,” says Professor David Smith, NSCAD University President. “It allows our students to make meaningful contributions to society by applying their critical and creative thinking skills to targeted community needs.”
To mark the successful completion of their collaborative projects, the young artists and their NSCAD mentors proudly invite the public to join them on Saturday, June 20 at the following locations:
11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., St. George’s YouthNet, 2222 Brunswick Street
• Art to Go: Inspired by the bookmobile, the participants reconfigured a U-Haul and turned it into a classroom on wheels as a way of taking not only art materials but art making and the studio itself to the community.
• Seed to Feed: This community greenhouse project was designed to promote outdoor learning and ecological awareness while giving urban children a chance to create their own organic garden. Stop by the greenhouse and taste the results!
1:30 p.m., NSCAD University, Granville Mall Plaza Studio D101 (Next to the Split Crow)
• Who Am I?: In this unique initiative, children from a North End community explored their genealogy and “community families” by carving their own interpretive stories into large ceramic tiles.
3 p.m., NSCAD University, Bell Auditorium, 4th floor, 5163 Duke Street
• My World...My Life: In capturing their everyday world through the lens of a camera, the children celebrated their community while learning to make a documentary. Join the students and children as they screen the story of their lives.
“The response to these projects from both the children and our students has been absolutely and overwhelmingly positive,” Daniels says. “With these projects, the children have found a voice; they know that what they’ve made, done and said will be carried beyond their community, even beyond Halifax.”
“For our students, more used to creating art for others to look at, they learned as much from these children as the children did from them,” adds Daniels. “While most had little exposure to this community before this course, they’ve connected with the children and the North End in significant and lasting ways. And that’s what community service learning is all about.”