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Oct. 14-15, 2011 at Harbourfront Centre

Toronto, ON (Sept. 26, 2011) – Co-produced by Arts Network for Children and Youth and Harbourfront Centre, and funded in part by Canadian Heritage, the symposium Creative Communities for Children and Youth (Oct. 14-15) will gather youth artists, cultural planners and representatives of arts organizations. An extraordinary weekend conceptualized around cultural planning, programming, best practices and creative communities for children and youth is aimed at all those invested in expanding the children and youth arts sector.

We’ll find out about innovative programming from across the country from representatives of organizations like Sketch in Toronto, Graffiti Gallery in Winnipeg, Vancouver East Cultural Centre and ArtBridges-ToileDesArts in Toronto. We’ll hear about cross-sector partnerships, engaging youth through the arts and arts leadership. We’ll see performances by youth artists including Pricelys and Nevada & Joel. Most importantly, this weekend will launch the inaugural National Youth Arts Week planned for May 2012.

In her keynote speech “Intercultural Innovators: art, influence and friendship”, Lenine Bourke, Artistic Director of Contact Inc. based in Brisbane, Australia and collaborator of Toronto-based Mammalian Diving Reflex will utilize practice examples from very local contexts to international exchanges to explore ways in which partnerships and collaborations are taking shape between autonomous practitioners and formalized organizations. These partnerships create a way of evolving practice and blurring the edges just enough to challenge our work to be better, while also creating neighbourhoods in which citizens can hopefully and creatively shape their own futures together. This keynote presentation will engage participants in thinking about intercultural innovation and cultural practice while focusing specifically on the practical ways these ideas can be integrated into cultural organizations that engage children, young people and the broader public.

Rick Sperling, Founder and CEO of the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, was named a 2008 Michiganian of the Year by the Detroit News for “inspiring self-discipline, a sense of teamwork and high personal standards in thousands of Metro Detroit children.” As a result of his work with Mosaic, Sperling has also received the Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre by the Detroit Free Press. Founded in 1992, Mosaic has become a national model for youth development through the arts, empowering youth through professional-level theatre and vocal music training. 95% of the alumni of Mosaic’s Youth Ensemble have graduated from high school and gone on to college. Sperling will present “Excellence on Stage and in Life: The Link between the Arts and Youth Development.”

Testament, the MC for the symposium is well known to Toronto audiences as an extraordinary spoken word artist who has travelled the globe spreading his message of peace, love and unity. He belongs to the new generation of artists who have created a new art form that bewilders the art critics, but has proven to be the perfect voice of young people in the 21st century.

About Arts Network for Children and Youth
Arts Network for Children and Youth (ANCY) is a national non-profit community arts service organization. ANCY was established by a group of arts practitioners with a vision to develop sustainable arts programming for children and youth in communities across Canada.

About National Youth Arts Week
Next May, Canadian communities will join together to host the largest celebration of creative expression of children and youth this country has ever seen. National Youth Arts Week will take place from May 1 to 7, 2012 and will feature simultaneous youth-driven projects and events from St. John’s to Whitehorse to Vancouver Island. Organized by Arts Network for Children and Youth, National Youth Arts Week will provide a space for young people to express and exchange their ideas, showcase their talents, get excited about the arts and celebrate their positive contributions to the community. By working together and taking an active role in creating events, these young leaders will build a strong connection to their community and, in doing so, they will become part of a growing national network of youth artists and

About Harbourfront Centre
Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, all within a collection of distinctive venues on a 10-acre site in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront. For more information visit



Arts Network for Children and Youth
Linda Albright

Harbourfront Centre
Althea Linton
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