Catching up with TEA #YelltheTruth

“We have good ideas too, we just need space to be able to create and make them happen.

– Toronto Emerging Artivists

The #YelltheTruth campaign is a way to profile stories and examples about how grassroots youth-serving organizations are facilitating opportunities for youth leadership and participation in Ontario communities, acting as powerful agents of change in one (or more) of the seven themes outlined in Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth Succeed. Our #YelltheTruth contest earlier this year was a great success; we had 10 winning organizations across Ontario who received prizes worth $500 aimed at supporting them to ‘yell the truth.’ As this year draws to a close, we reached out to a few of our winners to see how the prize impacted their organizations and how they were better able to ‘yell the truth.’ We want to thank Anjuli (Program Manager) and the youth at Toronto Emerging ARTivists (TEA) for sharing with us!

“Picture This” Eco Arts Sculpture

About TEA

Drawing on their extensive experience supporting youth-led projects, Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Space (STEPS) has developed the award-winning Emerging ARTivist Program. This program challenges young people to think critically about the city and their role in making it a more vibrant place. This workshop and leadership program, which has been facilitated in both community and school settings, has resulted in several large-scale art installations, as well as the launch of youth-led arts collectives across some of Toronto’s most under-served communities.

TEA’s #YelltheTruth Prize

Youth honorarium for interns supporting communications and other work at TEA.

How did you use your prize? How did it help your organization yell the truth?

TEA: This year we accomplished a lot with the help of the honoraria. We held our first Jane’s Walk ever; people came from different parts of the city to hear what we thought about public spaces and our community. We also completed our “Picture This” Eco Arts sculpture. The piece was made out of salvaged material, and it came together in a seat/stage space in the shape of a picture frame. The overall piece was also composed of different pieces of artwork that youth in the community had created. We love seeing how at different events it is constantly being used. We just completed our “In Our Hands” Environmental Mural. IT is a project that we worked on over the summer. It was painted on the side of Valley Park Middle School and faces the new cricket field and eco park. We had a great launch and, by this time we were much more comfortable speaking and we all spoke to the development of the project and what it meant. There were over 100 people in attendance, and even the local newspaper came out for it.

Young people can have a positive impact in their communities. Often times adults think we are lazy or don’t do things, but actually when given encouragement, support, and great mentors, we can do a lot. We have good ideas too, we just need space to be able to create and make them happen. #YelltheTruth

Valley Park Middle School Eco Mural

How do you encourage youth to yell their truth?

TEA: Get involved, dream big, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you think you have a cool idea.

How can people get in contact with you?

TEA: We are incubated by the STEPS Initiative, and have a page of their website www.stepsinitiative.com/tea. You can also e-mail us at emergingartivist@stepsinitiative.com. We have a closed Facebook group (we have it closed, so that it is a safe space for our members), but you can send us a message asking why you want to be involved, and we can add you.

Jhanelle Porter
Communications and Digital Content Intern
YouthREX Provincial Office

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