The University of King’s College and Youth Art Connection (YAC) are partnering on a new initiative called “Arts & Dialogue in Action” that has young community artists collaborating with King’s students on creative projects. It’s designed to bring creative ideas to fruition as learning opportunities and, potentially, businesses.
“Nurturing the artistic life in parallel to academic studies is part of the core identity of King’s,” says University of King’s College President and Vice-Chancellor, William Lahey. “This new partnership with YAC builds on this rich tradition while creating new opportunities for King’s students to explore opportunities for careers in arts and culture, in and beyond Halifax.”
Through weekly meetings and coaching, YAC participants and King’s students map personal and collective business, career and community-impact goals. Professional visual and performance artists act as mentors, coaches and activity consultants. Participants meet at both King’s and the YAC Hub on Bloomfield Street in Halifax.
This collaboration officially marks the University of King’s College entry into the Nova Scotia Sandbox Project. Made possible with financial support from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, the Nova Scotia Sandbox Project is a joint initiative hosted by the province’s universities and NSCC that brings students, mentors and advisers together to take business and social concepts from idea to execution.
Within the family of Sandbox projects, “Arts & Dialogue in Action” joins The Spark Zone.
Along with participants from Saint Mary’s University, Mount Saint Vincent University, NSCAD University, Atlantic School of Theology and Nova Scotia Community College, King’s and YAC participants will connect, share and learn from with other entrepreneurial-minded peers looking to launch business ideas and social innovations. The Spark Zone is housed at Saint Mary’s University and draws on the staff and resources of the Sobey School Business Development Centre in delivering its programming.
“With a focus on collaborative partnerships and community development through entrepreneurship, The Spark Zone is thrilled to include the University of King’s College on our robust team of six post-secondary partner institutions,” says Jason Turner, Manager, the Spark Zone. “King’s interest in creating a mutually beneficial environment for their students to engage with local artists from the Youth Art Connection resonated with our team; we are excited to see this project gain momentum as our partners build bridges between our institutions and our communities.”
Through Arts and Dialogue in Action, YAC participants and King’s students have already collaborated on events including Visions of Home, a benefit concert for WUSC King’s (Student Refugee Program) that featured music and spoken word, and weekly drop-in sessions with YAC co-founder Ryan Veltmeyer in The Wardroom.
“Since we founded YAC seven years ago, we’ve discovered there are many talented young Nova Scotians with incredible dreams, who need only the proper training and opportunities to turn their dreams into projects, action plans and businesses,” says Veltmeyer. “We are thrilled that our collaboration with King’s will help address this gap in a youth-led, concrete and action-oriented way.”
Marielle Nicol, a fourth-year Classics student at King’s who also owns her own second-hand clothing company agrees. “Through YAC, I’ve connected with Halifax youth I otherwise would not have met—creative young people who inspire me,” she says. “This is a great experience for me in terms of broadening my perspectives of Halifax outside the university, as well as for developing the scope of my business.”
Veltmeyer say he hopes the pilot will lead to more connections and activities between young people from various communities in Halifax and with students at King’s and in the broader King’s community.