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7th Generation Image Makers; using art to inspire at-risk Aboriginal Youth

February 19, 2015

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7th Generation Image Makers is a community arts program under the auspices of Native Child and Family Services of Toronto. Local Anishnawbek artist Maria Hupfield through the NCFST youth department founded the program in 1995. The program’s mandate is to provide arts exposure and constructive creative expression for at-risk aboriginal youth ages 16-29 in the community. The program provides art workshops run by professional artists that include summer video projects and mural making, which promote aboriginal visual presence around the city. The general model combines extensive arts programming within a drop-in studio environment, with additional outreach workshops in different venues.

7th Generation Image Makers started off as a mural company and expanded to include a range of media arts, visual and traditional arts. The program focuses on the cultural and artistic identity of the youth participants. They regularly offer digital media lab access for youth to experiment with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, film, Final Cut Express and photography. Traditional arts offered include beading, moccasin making, quill work, soapstone carving, drum making, and has included regalia making on a project-basis, some of which is integrated with contemporary media. The program also provides a lot of painting and drawing resources/workshops and assists youth with portfolio development.

Lindsey Lickers, the coordinator of 7th Gen says:

“7th Generation Image Makers-NCFST have contributed greatly to the Aboriginal youth arts landscape in Toronto since its inception in 1995, with activities ranging from group exhibitions, public mural instillations, arts and culture intensives, and professional development workshops [amongst others]. Although our main mandate is to provide substantial arts, culture and media programming to the Aboriginal at-risk youth population, what we really strive to do is plant seeds for personal growth and future success. Embedded in all of our programming is the goal to give youth participants practical knowledge, coupled with specific arts skills and professional resources, so that we are nurturing their imagination to create artistically; but also imagine and potentially create a future that leads to advancing their education, fuelling their passion, and encouraging career success. Participants come to us for various reasons, but no matter the circumstance, our goal is to have them leave us with confidence, and arts and culture is the pathway.”

Native Child and Family Services is a partner of Prince’s Charities Canada’s urban Aboriginal employment and mentorship strategy.

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