Okotoks teens get creative with art

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Okotoks teens are tapping into their artistic side at a local youth hangout.

Okotoks Culture and Heritage has held Active8 Teen Drop-In Art Nights about five times a year. The next event takes place Feb. 2 from 8:30 to 10 p.m. where teens will use acrylic paint to create a marbelling effect on paper.

“Often any kid that shows up at the youth centre will engage,” said education program specialist Jaime-Brett Sine. “Generally we have around 12 kids that participate.”

The drop-in art nights take place in the basement of the Okotoks Recreation Centre where the youth program takes place.

Sine said Okotoks Culture and Heritage has been holding teen group art projects for about two years.

“They can come in and engage with us if they choose,” she said. “Generally we try and choose projects that are going to be very interesting, accessible and tempting to them.”

A Calgary art instructor is brought in to teach the teens unique art techniques, using a variety of materials and even incorporating technology on occasion, said Sine.

“It’s things that are really going to appeal to that demographic,” she said.

One of the more popular sessions was when youth learned how to create manga, a Japanese art technique in creating animae.

“We offered a number of templates they could follow,” she said. “We try to choose things that are quite accessible. When it comes to learning new artistic skills sometimes it has to do with the material and learning an entirely new technique.”

The art projects give the youth a choice to work either individually or as part of a group, said Sine.

“One of the popular things we’ve been doing is a larger canvas, which is a collaborative effort,” she said. “It doesn’t require them to really sit down and engage as much.”

The mandate behind Active8 Teen Drop-In is to engage all demographics in culture and heritage, and teenagers can often be a tough one to reach, said Sine.

“The idea is to collaborate with the rec centre where they do a variety of different activities and actually go to them,” she said. “We had a conversation a number of years ago with one of the youth coordinators how there were a lot of teens during those evenings who didn’t want to engage with swimming and other activities, they wanted to be able to sit down and do more quiet artistic work. We wanted to offer that opportunity.”

Unlike most of the art nights, the Feb. 2 event will take place in the Okotoks recreation lobby.

There is no cost to participate.

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