Youth arts initiative brainstormed

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A new youth arts initiative is about ‘‘sowing the seeds of possibility’’ and highlighting opportunities available for young people in the region, Central Otago arts co-ordinator Maxine Williams says.
Suggestions for the initiative were discussed by about 25 people who attended a youth hui held last month to discuss that and other ideas, and feedback was overwhelmingly positively, she said.
The first thing the Central Otago District Arts Trust plans to do is add a youth section to its website, outlining arts courses, exhibitions and scholarships available to young people.
Video interviews with young people who had completed creative studies and continued producing or working in the arts sector would be included, and career pathways would be outlined and encouraged, Ms Williams said.
The idea was both to encourage greater involvement by youth in the arts generally and highlight opportunities available in Central Otago to encourage more young people to stay in the region.
The entire arts sector would be highlighted, including visual and performing arts and related fields such as architecture, crafts and technical pursuits related to the arts, such as sound engineering.
The Central Otago trust wanted to work more closely with schools and youth groups, and had already met some young people and planned to have ongoing consultation with youth. This would include forming and working with a youth focus group.
‘‘We might think we know what youth need, but by checking with young people and listening to them we will really identify what’s needed.’’
The trust also planned to explore opportunities available through the Otago Polytechnic’s Central campus in Cromwell, and set up a mentoringprogramme for young people with established artists.
Throughout its research, it was hoped to work out some ways to overcome the ‘‘geographic challenges of our region when bringing youth together’’, Ms Williams said.
The trust would hold a further youth hui in Cromwell to gather more ideas, and was waiting to hear if funding applications for the youth project had been approved. It hoped to have the new youth section of the arts trust website online by the middle of next year.