Young writers, artists honoured for ‘imagining the future’

On the evening of Sunday, Dec. 10, 2021, young artists and writers were honoured at the Youth Imagine the Future (YIF) Award Ceremony at the Window Art Gallery.

For the past two Septembers, during the Youth Imagine the Future festival, local youth have been invited to design their own (better) believable future, make it socially equitable, and then use that as the setting for a fun short story – or create a piece of art.

According to a release from event organizers, the 2023 awards ceremony celebrated the nearly 70 stories and 40 art works submitted to this year’s festival. Students participated from Bayridge SS, LCVI, KSS, LaSalle SS, Holy Cross SS, Regiopolis-Notre Dame SS, Granite Ridge EC, Sydenham HS, Frontenac SS, Calvin Park PS, Loughborough PS, Southview PS, Central PS, École Sainte-Marie-Rivier, Kings Town School, Fairfield PS, Bayside SS, Trenton SS, École Cathedrale (Kingston), and North Addington EC.

Writer Abbie Miolée (LaSalle SS), and artist Caitlin Ball (Sydenham SS), each won a First Place award of a $500 GIC donated by the Kington Community Credit Union. Second to fifth-place winners each won $100 for writing (Jasper Lyon Wicke, Ivy Bjerknes, Holly Stephen, and Leila Lawrence-Montag) and artists (Alex Goddard, Rose Hum-Porter, Luke Peck, and John McNichols with Gavin Jones and Jaden Bicknell).

Organizers shared that highlights from the ceremony included personal letters from professors of mycology, a signed novel by YA author Adan Jerreat-Poole, and warm, personal letters of congratulations from MP Mark Gerretsen and MPP Ted Hsu.

“These students did an amazing and inspiring job to create a believable, sustainable and just future and show it so creatively in a piece of art or in a short story. We had over 80 visitors to the [Window Art Gallery] this year who were cheered up by the display,” Jerri Jerreat, one of the festival organizers, shared with Kingstonist in an email.

“We will be showing a small selection of the art and writing at the City of Kingston’s New Year Levee on Jan 9th and Novel Idea will let us show it in a nice window display in February. We need our youth to think about these issues in a positive, solutions kind of way, and they are. They are thinking.”

Some of the student artwork will be on display at the Kingston Climate Change Symposium on Monday, Jan. 29, 2023, and then at The Bagel Shop (Kingston), at a Black Dog Hospitality restaurant, and later in Kingston City Hall.

“I am blown away by the wisdom, insight, and passion of these creative youth!” shared Professor Heather McGregor of Queen’s University’s Faculty of Education.

Dr. Tiina Kukkonen, a professor of Visual Arts Education at Queen’s, echoed her colleague’s sentiments.

“What a spectacular show of creativity, innovation, and hope. We need those skills and mindsets for the future!” she said.

Another visitor to the KSOA gallery simply noted, “You give me hope,” organizers of the Youth Imagine the Future shared.

According to the release, these awards were supported by Queen’s Faculty of Education, Providence Centre for Peace & Justice, Trailhead’s Eco fund, 350Kingston, and individual donors.

The Mission Statement of Youth Imagine the Future is:

  • To encourage youth in our region to research and envision solutions to the Climate Crisis and a more socially equitable future.
  • To allow our youth to have a voice in our community regarding their concerns about the environment and social equity issues.
  • To create community: to bring adults and youth together to see and listen to each other over these large issues of the Climate Crisis and social equity.
  • To help combat the rise of Climate Anxiety and Climate Depression among our youth by encouraging them to look toward solutions and help us to get there.
  • To run a festival as a non-profit with the help of the community, offering solarpunk/hopepunk workshops and showing the community the ideas youth create both in art and in writing short stories.
  • To foster artistic individuality and innovation in the arts, and literacy among youth.

For more information on this Kingston-based initiative, visit the Youth Imagine the Future website.

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