On October 16, 2016, AVNU was able to host youth arts performances and short film screening for the New Voices Showcase, part of Rutas Panamericanas International Performing Arts Festival.The festival was produced by Aluna Theatre in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts, at Artscape Daniels Spectrum- AKI Studio.
The event opened with a land acknowledgement led by Yolanda Bonnell, and words of welcome by Rutas Ambassador Nico Contreras and AVNU staff Joseph Recinos. The audience enjoyed musical performances by Briana Olsen, and Jorge Cantor; readings by Melisse Watson, and Ilana Divertman; a movement piece by Alexandra Barbarena; and a collaborative Traditional and Hip Hop dance performance by Briana Olsen and Jared Robillard.
AVNU also premiered the short film, Breaking the ICE, which documents our Spring 2016 province-wide work. Videographer Rainier Bustamante documented the work the ICE crew in Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie, Thunder Bay, and Manitoulin, Ontario throughout the course of our Information-Culture-Exchange (ICE) program.
The goals of the ICE program are to connect and establish meaningful relationships with organizations/individuals committed to grassroots education initiatives for youth. This involved engaging young activators and organizations from communities outside of the GTA to provide tools and trainings to aid in and further grassroots initiatives already present in these local communities. The project also sought promising practices to bring back to Toronto for AVNU partners to potentially share and use as resources, practices that deliver unique content (community focused, creative, with a mandate for positive social change) through unique methods of teaching (participatory methods rooted in people’s direct experiences).
The film also featured ICE workshop facilitators Judi Lopez, Yolanda Bonnell, Jermaine Henry, who all spoke at the October 16th screening to their experiences working with ICE. Key messages from the facilitators centered around positive change through the power of art, and the promotion of learning about the self through interaction with others, and the need to listen to youths’ voices.
“The future is youth- we need to start listening”
*AVNU is a collaborative of 9 grassroots organizations: ArtReach, Manifesto, Grassroots Youth Collaborative, SKETCH Working Arts, Nia Centre for the Arts, Neighbourhood Arts Network, Schools Without Borders, the Toronto Youth Cabinet, and the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy. The collective ran from 2013-2016.