Art Forms: Youth as Co-Creators of Community


Photo taken by Amber Aasman, Project Coordinator of Art Forms.

When youth are vibrantly engaged as co-creators in the community, everyone benefits.

That’s the philosophy behind Art Forms, a youth art studio located on 126 James Street North in the middle of the district of art-makers and art-lovers.  Sponsored by the Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC) of Hamilton, Art Forms works to provide marginalized and at-risk youth with arts programming, noticing that there are really clear links between art and community.

“We are designing a place for marginalized people in the centre of this really innovative, fashionable, trendy arts district,” said Amber Aasman, Project Coordinator of the organization.

Every week, the studio hosts a number of different artists delivering workshops in the areas of art making and selling as well as performing arts.  Past workshops hosted under their new performance-based Voices series have included theatre, poetry, hip hop dance and songwriting.

As well, Art Forms works to create leadership opportunities and give youth a chance to go public with their works of art.

Perhaps the best part about Art Forms is that it actively seeks out diversity.  We often get caught up reaching for higher goals, never completely happy as we strive for perfection.  This fall, I worked as an intern at Art Forms.  During my time there, I learned that perhaps years of training and perfection isn’t all that important in producing good art.  Perhaps instead, we are enough, as we are, constantly struggling to reach an equilibrium between our challenges and our sense of true self.

Art Forms is always open during the James Street North Art Crawl, held on the second Friday of every month.  Come in and check out some youth art.  We need more youth as co-creators of our community.