The Port Moody Arts Centre is an arts and culture hotspot that hosts all kinds of events and art programs year-round. This year, the centre has signed up to hold a Culture Days activity geared towards the community's youth with the goal of establishing a relationship between the children of Port Moody and its local art scene. The Arts Centre's activity, Art 4 Life is a 2D and 3D art exhibition for children under the age of 13 that will expose young participants early on to gallery art and encourage families to spend time together in an arts environment. We spoke to Janice Cotter of Port Moody Arts Centre to learn more about the centre's Culture Days activity and the importance of early exposure to art.
Your activity, Art 4 Life, features participatory events geared towards children ages 12 and under. Why is it important to you to feature activities aimed towards that age group?
The Port Moody Arts Centre is always tingling with the energy of the young people who take classes in visual arts, music, theatre and even Lego. It just seemed like a logical step for us to have one exhibition a year completely focused on them.
One of my favourite things about Art 4 Life is that it gives parents a chance to introduce their children to art exhibitions in a gallery setting that’s welcoming, engaging and free. When both the parents and the child have a positive first experience in an arts environment it makes it more likely that they will continue exploring arts programs, venues and activities. I know Art 4 Life is a success when kids get inspired by the art and say things like “How did the artist make that?”, “Why did they make that?" or “I want to learn to make that."
That must be incredible to hear. What kind of skills and lessons can be gained from early exposure to art?
There are so many benefits for children who are exposed to art from an early age. Looking at art, learning to appreciate it, and participating in arts activities helps to encourage things like creative problem solving and development of motor skills. It’s also great for boosting self-esteem and providing a sense of accomplishment.
Another important factor in today’s world is that art helps to create cultural awareness, while increasing empathy and tolerance. It gives children a window into how the artist sees the world through their culture or condition.
The benefits of an arts education affect so many aspects of our existence and we hope learning about art will be lifelong journey.
How does being involved in an event like BC Culture Days strengthen your bond with your local community?
Preparation for Culture Days provides a rare opportunity for representatives from arts and culture groups in the Tri-Cities to meet and work together on activities and events. Culture Days promotions also help us reach out to newcomers to the community and people who haven’t been here before.
The aim of Art 4 Life is an inspiring one. The event creates a space for families to spend time together and hopefully begin a relationship with art and culture that extends past the Culture Days weekend. Ultimately, this is the goal of Culture Days: to provide a platform for arts organizations so they can build lasting relationships with the public and enrich the day to day lives of their local communities.
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