Celebrities Celebrate the Spot

Posted by: Youth Art Connection | Categories: News


Youth Art Connection’s program The Spot is a free drop-in arts space that promotes youth mental health through music and visual creativity. It is facilitated by artists from Halifax’s creative community and managed by staff from Connections.  “The Spot” is open to youth twice a week at The Pavillion, an HRM building on the Commons.

When The Spot didn’t receive HRM Interim Arts Funding this year, disappointment turned to determination and The Spot: Live Charity Auction was born! This live auction is happening The Carleton Music Bar and Grill on March 29th from 2-5pm.

Local artists, musicians, business and even Mayor Savage have all heeded the call for donations to the live auction.  Together we are creating an exciting afternoon where guest auctioneers and local celebrities including the John Dunsworth (aka Mr. Lahey from the Trailer Park Boys!) will auction off delightful, exciting and hilarious items including:

  • Lunch with Mike & Mike (share a meal at the Carleton with owner Mike Cambell and Mayor Savage)
  • Dinner and a dog walk with Erin Costelo
  • Wintersleep’s Tim D’Eon will record you a personalized voicemail
  • Rich Aucoin’s hat & sunglasses
  • Sketching session with Emma Fitzgerald

The afternoon will feature young artists from The Spot and surprise celebrity performers. The goal is to raise $5,000 in order to keep The Spot’s doors open for the rest of this term. Donna Rhyno’s Son has been attending The Spot for over a year and she has this to say about his experience:

“I can’t believe the change in him since [he started going]. He has come out of his shell, gained confidence and self esteem. He is more talkative now and much happier. Most importantly, he has made friends. He and two other Spot attendees have formed a band and that is the highlight of my son’s life. He can’t wait for Tuesday and Thursay evenings when they meet at the Spot. It gives him something to look forward to and now he feels he has a purpose and a future.”

The Spot, operating on a shoestring budget and the good will of volunteers, artists and community organizations has supported the creative  development and mental health of over a thousand youth in the last few years. With the support Halifax’s rich arts and culture scene through this Live Charity Auction, they plan to continue offering social, creative, mental health support in a fun and supportive environment.

A limited supply of $10 Early Bird tickets are available for purchase online at Eventbrite here: http://alturl.com/b3q7r or call Ann Denny to reserve by phone at: 902-877-5894. Tickets will also be available at the door on March 29th for $15.

See you at the auction!!!




Honouring James Skerry

Posted by: Youth Art Connection | Categories: News


Youth Art Connection staff, friends and family are deeply saddened by the loss of James Skerry, a creative entrepreneur and musician from Dartmouth Nova Scotia. We are also honoured to receive donations to the ArtPreneur program. YAC hopes to honour his memory by supporting a young person to turn their passion into a career, follow their dreams, inspire others and be an example to their community in the same way as James.

James’ obituary is here: James Skerry.

Donations to YAC can be made online here: www.youthartconnection.ca/donations/

Donations to YAC can be accepted via cheque made out to:

Youth Art Connection

18 Idlewlyde Rd

Halifax, NS, B3N 1B9


YAC Tour -Day 5: Conference Conclusion

The final day of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation Power of the Arts National Forum draws to a close and team YAC is as fired up on creativity as ever! At the conference sessions, dinner networking meetings, and every moment in between, YAC was constantly incubating new ambitious ideas, and someone was always saying “Who’s writing these ideas down??”. Along the road, at the hotel, and every spare moment YAC was in ardent discussion amongst themselves about ways to make the power of the arts a potent reality in Halifax, Atlantic Canada, nationally, and internationally.

Each Artpreneur had something to offer and exciting ideas of collaboration continued to surface. YAC plans to prepare an artistic piece to bring to next year’s conference as well as collaborating with each other throughout the year in various music, dance and craft projects. In addition to significant relationship establishment within the group, valuable connections were made at the conference that pose several potential collaboration projects in YAC’s future.


YAC with Lee Park before returning to Halifax

The last day of the forum included several interactive performances and thematic dialogue sessions around the leitmotif of cultural activation. In large discussion groups the conference attendees representing themselves or their organizations exchanged ideas and developed strategies to encourage social change across disciplines by leveraging political, economic, and cultural levels of society. YAC contributed their ideas to some of the sessions in capacity building, research, policy, advocacy, public mobilization and awareness-building campaigns, funding cultural and social enterprises, and ethics and culture.

The stimulating environment of people passionate about arts cultivated fertile atmosphere to advance different concepts and rolled into a force of momentum for the participants to move forward into their various spheres of influence.

After speeches concluded the ceremonies, YAC left Ottawa in good spirits, gave final cheers with a celebration in Montreal, and began the long drive back to Halifax. A drive that of course comprised several long and conducive conversations on the power of the arts and YAC’s role in bringing what they’ve learned into fruition!

Infused with inspiration from the brilliant people and concepts introduced along the whole trip, YAC looks forward to great things ahead, using the power of the arts to Make Art, Make Money, Make Change!


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!

Art Builds Futures