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August 04, 2022

Three Creative Spark Vancouver Grant Projects Supporting Young People’s Creativity

A group of people gathered around in a circle at a park

In 2021, ArtStarts’ Creative Spark Vancouver grant supported 13 emerging artists. Each artist developed impactful arts experiences engaging over 100 young people. Over the past several years, the pandemic has posed a number of barriers for young people to access and take part in arts-based experience in their schools and communities. Studies show that the arts are essential for young learner’s social-emotional well being and academic success. Despite pandemic restrictions, artists delivered these projects in creative ways. Some artists held a series of sessions online, while others took a flexible approach, meeting online and in-person. Here are some highlights from recent Creative Spark Vancouver projects supporting young people’s creativity.  

1. The Lunacy Phase

Simran Sachar developed The Lunacy Phase, a five-day creative dance camp. The camp provided the space for BIPOC youth from all levels of dance training to come together and learn from one another. Students worked in a free-style based environment, exploring their own dance choices. Youth participants also collaborated with each other. The project culminated in the students creating their own dance that they shared with the other youth. 

According to Simran,”The young people involved conquered fears in freestyle and creation, expanded their vocabulary and got to share their own ideas, and through the collaboration they grew a strong bond with one another.”

Simran cultivated a collaborative, creative, and supportive learning environment for the participants. Now that the camp has ended, participants continue to dance together outside of The Lunacy Phase. 

2. Project 2 El Mashup

Over the course of seven weeks, co-facilitators Dora Prieto and Daniela Rodríguez met each Saturday with a group of 12 Latinx youth participants to share tools and activities for hybrid creative writing and analog film practice, titled “El Mashup.”

The first five sessions were focused on hybrid creative writing techniques and consisted of the following synchronous sessions:

Getting started,

words and sentences,

object studies,


and workshop + brainstorming

In addition to the synchronous sessions, participants were sent further materials and optional asynchronous activities to further their learning and experimentation.

The last two sessions were focused on analog film practice with co-facilitators from Echo Park Film Centre North. The first session covered cinematography and analog film processing. The second session included editing basics and final presentations. 

3. Writing Speculative Fiction: A Virtual five-Part Workshop Series for BIWOC Youth

Kathy Nguyen led a five-part speculative fiction writing workshop series for BIPOC teen girls/young women and non-binary teens. Participants met on Zoom to discuss storytelling and craft in a warm and encouraging environment. Sessions opened with a Q&A from an industry professional. Speakers included comic artist and instructor Janice Liu, writer and editor Chimedum "Chimie" Ohaegbu, and writer, editor, and translator Yilin Wang. Speakers talked in depth about their relationship with speculative fiction and their journeys in their creative careers. 

Participants had the opportunity to discuss readings consisting of scholarly articles, short fiction, and think pieces assigned for that week. The readings covered a range of subjects from the importance of challenging Western storytelling conventions, to being aware of our need as artists for external validation. Throughout the workshop series, participants also engaged in generative writing exercises, performances of their own work, and literary-themed games.

The arts are an essential part of learning. That’s why ArtStarts, along with the City of Vancouver and the BC Arts Council have partnered to create pathways for young people to express their creativity while allowing artists the ability to develop their artistic practice through the Creative Spark Vancouver grant. 

The Creative Spark Vancouver grant provides up to $3,000 for individual artists or up to $5,000 for collectives of artists living in Vancouver for projects that engage youth in creative and collaborative art projects. 

If you’re interested in developing similar projects, apply to the Creative Spark Vancouver grant. We are accepting applications until September 6, 2022.

Thank you to the city of Vancouver and BC Arts Council for their support.

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