Leadership through the Arts

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Pictures from the past 3 years


MASC marked the joyous start of a new phase in partnership with the Youth Services Bureau (YSB), for which a generous $199,000, 3-year grant was awarded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation to support Leadership Through the Arts. This project is an evolution of the collaboration between MASC and YSB, now bringing the skills and talents of Toronto-based SKETCH to the mix. SKETCH is recognized provincially and nationally for its unique, capacity-focused approach to youth engagement and organizing through the arts. The new project will offer leadership training through the arts to a group of youth who are deeply entrenched in YSB, and provide them opportunities to do outreach and organize artist programs for their peers in the Drop-In Centre. Collaboration and capacity building are underlying themes in the project for all the organizations involved and the youth it engages.

The program began in earnest with Phyllis Novak, Artistic Director of SKETCH leading a three-day series of arts-based leadership training with the newly formed Youth Engagement Committee. The enthusiastic committee (named ‘The Art Messengers’), shared their ideals and ideas with the project leaders, animating their hopes and dreams for the future of the program.

Underlying the arts programming throughout the project is a research component that will help define and point the way to creating a sustainable, place-based service comparable to the important work of SKETCH. If after three more years the will is there and the research supports it, a version of the SKETCH model could be created for the City of Ottawa and its at-risk youth. 

MASC has been actively involved with the Ottawa Youth Services Bureau since 2009 serving street-involved youth through their Drop-In Centre, bringing lively arts experiences such as b-boying dance, slam poetry, mural painting, media arts and dramatic improv workshops. In addition to providing creative opportunities for self-expression and constructive artistic activities, MASC programming helps draw vulnerable, at-risk youth visiting the centre towards YSB health, housing and social services.