Week 9 Main Post: Daniels Spectrum and Artscape

Having never been to Regent Park, I didn’t know what to expect. But safe to say the community surprised me in many ways.

We stopped at Daniels Spectrum and found out about many different organizations.

On their official website, they describe the place as a

cultural hub in Regent Park open to everyone.

They also go on to say that

it is home to many outstanding arts-based and community-focused organizations, and contains several event, performance and exhibition spaces that host tens of thousands of visitors and hundreds of arts and cultural events each year.

Daniel Spectrum

I found that I was very drawn to Artscape and what they were doing not just for people living in Regent Park but other individuals or groups from other communities.

Artscape is a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities.

Our work involves clustering creative people together in real estate projects that serve the needs of the arts and cultural community and advance multiple public policy objectives, private development interests, community and neighbourhood aspirations and philanthropic missions.

Their work got me thinking about the lack of spacing that’s often an issue when it comes to housing, schooling, as well as other important areas in bringing people together.

I think it’s very important for children and adults to have a place where they can sing, dance, act, etc. Unfortunately, some individuals aren’t able to afford to rent a recording booth or theatre for the creative endeavours they hope to pursue. And sometimes the community as a whole can’t set aside a decent sized space with the right resources for the arts.

Often times academics come first. Then athletics. The arts are sometimes abandoned and neglected.

However, Artscape wants to offer a safe space for artistic, creative expression.

I admire that the group aims to foster the arts by giving incredible people the right place come together.

Every day, Artscape spaces come alive with the ideas and passion of the 116 organizations and 2,300+ people who work and/or live within our portfolio of buildings. Thirty-two public venues pulse with the energy of the 247,000+ people who take part in exhibitions and performances annually and the thousands more who participate in our programs, tenant-driven activities and city-wide events.

Artscape

And they are just as incredible.

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Week 3 Main Post: Youth and the Environment

Nowadays, youth tend to spend more time facing a screen than facing the environment. Many teens spend hours sitting still than they do standing and strolling around their neighbourhood. Most kids of this generation would rather stay indoors than go outside.

I know I spend an awful lot of time on my phone in a sedentary position at home.

But there’s something about nature that just can’t be rivalled. Games, movies, and even books simply cannot replace feeling the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, the grass on your feet.

And I didn’t realize the implications of this issue until a few years ago.

Get to Know

I want to thank an organization called Get to Know for making me realize the importance of going out into the wild and creating connections with the natural world. I’m slightly biased because I was part of their team last year and I hope to continue working with them in 2016. But I wouldn’t be involved in a cause if I didn’t genuinely care about it.

Get to Know Profile

(Images courtesy of Get to Know.)

Their goal is to:

…foster connections to nature through the creative arts and to celebrate the fantastic work being done by youth in response to the environment and the need to understand and value nature.

Every year they host a contest which invites youth to go outdoors, get inspired, and create a piece of art based upon some aspect of their experience.

This is particularly important in this day and age, as children continue to abandon outdoor experiences.

(Quotations are from their About page.)

What initially drew me to the contest was their focus on the creative arts. As a writer and a dancer, the arts have played an integral role in my life. So seeing Get to Know combine creativity with getting outdoors to appreciate nature more is the best of both worlds.

Ultimately, I want to leave this earth better than how I found it. And I can only hope I leave it in good hands. That’s why encouraging people—especially younger children—to respect natural resources and appreciate what the environment has to offer has been a priority of mine these past few years.

If nothing else, seeing fauna and flora has been more rewarding than scrolling through my Facebook timeline.