Youth participating in a workshop titled Art Loves You learn traditional First Nations drawing techniques Saturday afternoon in Williams Lake. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Williams Lake youth empowered through art exploration weekend

Indigenous and youth of colour are hunkering down for a weekend workshop titled Art Loves You

While the temperatures are dipping into the double digits this long weekend in the Cariboo Chilcotin, there’s a lot of warmth being generated at a creative art workshop taking place in Williams Lake.

A dozen Indigenous and youth of colour facing daily racism have embarked on a weekend exploration of art titled Art Loves You.

Organizer Meera Shah said the workshop is a collaboration between Canadian Mental Health Association Chilcotin Branch’s multicultural program and the All Nations Art Society.

“We have been offering free fiddle lessons to children in communities and now are expanding because we’ve got more members and a revitalized All Nations Art Society board,” Shah said. “We are looking to do festivals, public art projects, music and dance, pretty much everything. We really want to connect with the whole community.”

Read More: Traditions of Indian explored at Boitanio Park Thursday evening

The workshop kicked off Friday evening with a traditional drum-making workshop led by Wade Charlie and a feast of deer stew and bannock.

On Saturday participants learned about painting from Donna Ballantyne, while young aspiring artist Oceanna Cook from Sugar Cane also mentored some of the youth.

Standing by an ancient medicine wheel she’s painted and uses in her workshops, Ballantyne said it is a holistic device.

“It’s an ancient teaching from our ancestors that was brought together by countless clans and generations.”

Art even came into the making of homemade pizzas the youth made for their lunches.

Sunday will feature music, beginning at 11 a.m., slam poetry with Sonya Littlejohn at 1 p.m., followed by an open mic and spaghetti and meatballs for lunch.

Things will close off with some Latin dance instruction from Fabiola Faubert.

The emphasis of the weekend is to focus on underrepresented cultures in the region.

“Most of us our First Nations, I’m from Southeast Asia, and we’ve got Fabiola and David from the Mexican community.”

Shah said if people are interested in attending on Sunday they are more than welcome.

Here Meera talks about the 3D miniature art exhibit on display and being added to during the weekend workshop

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