November
8

YAC Tour Day 4 – POA Conference day 2

Today was a jam-packed day experiencing the power of the arts at the Michaëlle Jean Foundation’s National forum in Ottawa! YAC was exposed to innumerable inspirational ideas and contagious creativity through listening to various speakers and participating in constructive workshops.

To begin the day, Savannah (Savvy) Simon, a Mi’kmaq dancer, motivational speaker, YAC colleague and collaborator, opened the second day of the conference with high energy levels in a tradition Mi’kmaq round dance.    She later shared on the panel discussing the implementation of the National Action Plan about her and her family’s experience with oppression, the present-day effects of the residential schools, and her inspiring initiatives to take back her language and culture. There were no dry eyes in the house when she explained the struggle of suppressing the horrible things done to her people and the liberty that comes from acknowledging and sharing their stories to create change.

Later in the day, another aboriginal group from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation Youth Group echoed her supplication to think positively and believe in oneself. The KIFNYG recounted the moving tale of their reconciliation initiative, giving credit to their determination and leveraging the power of arts to promote reconciliation.20141108_101635

Other key speakers of note were Mohamed Thiam speaking about diversity and social inclusion, Pablo Munoz on cultural institutions and community integration, and Ahmed Mohamed on economic development and social enterprise. Each artist came in a wake of recent success but authentically shared with the conference attendees their struggles and motivations.

Throughout the day YAC attended workshops on technology and social change, citizenship and democratic participation, economic development and social enterprise, and cultural institutions and community integration. Listening intently to presenters with relevant experiences and connections to share was only one way YAC benefited from the conference, meeting like-minded entrepreneurs, artists, and non-profit organizations facilitating profitable networking and unprecedented collaboration was another!

After lunch, YAC attended further workshops on public safety and access to justice, community and urban renewal, diversity and social inclusion, and mental and physical health. With copious business cards and new friends and business partners, the YAC crew called it a successful day.

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YAC concluded the evening by reconnecting over dinner with Linda Albright, executive director of Art Network for Children & Youth, who played an essential role in the creation of YAC as an organization. Linda, now affectionately known as ‘Grandma YAC’, generously provided interest, support and advice for each of the Artpreneurs who shared their stories. This scintillating conversation of collaboration swelling around the table of bright-futured and talented individuals sets the tone for another day at the Power of the Arts National Forum tomorrow!

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