A new generation of Okanagan artists are taking art out of the gallery and into the streets of Kelowna. With the support of the City of Kelowna, RCA's new Youth Arts Council has developed a creative way to connect communities through their artistic practice and creative expression. The students in grades 8-11 from Kelowna and West Kelowna have one thing in common - a passion for the arts. To showcase their extraordinary range of talents from visual art to music and dance, they have created a unique way to bring these mediums together.
Under the mentorship and creative direction of professional artist Tyler Keeton Robbins, a former RCA tenant artist, the team is creating a portable mural which will act as a backdrop for pop-up performances around local neighbourhoods. From poetry readings to jazz performances, these teens are ready to share their creativity with you.
Just getting started! Tyler Keeton Robins assisting with projecting the mural onto the canvas.
After many brainstorming sessions between Tyler and the team, this eye catching triptych mural began to take shape. Respecting the unceded Indigionous land we live on, it was important to the group to have the main focus of the mural be a grizzly bear, which translates to Kelowna in the Syilx language. The Council wanted to create something vibrant and somewhat abstract while having a recognizable form. The layers of mountains, plants, sun, lake, and, of course, the bears, come together in a mesmerizing portrayal of Okanagan life.
“The mural is centered around the bear and other aspects of nature that are important to the Okanagan (Kelowna in specific), because that’s where we’re focusing”, says Sarah Arriani, a member of the Youth Arts Council. “We were also very sensitive about the Indigenous art style and influences because we wanted to be very respectful and acknowledge that we live on the traditional and unceded territory of the Okanagan Syilx people.”
Says Sarah, “I’m happy to be a part of the Youth Arts Council because we are coming together to work on something great for our community, even though we are a small group of 12. Under Tyler’s mentorship, we were able to combine aspects from everyone’s ideas—like the colour palette, bear paw, the bear’s head shape, fish, etc.—into one mural.”
A few of the Youth Arts Council members hard at work.
From May and June 2022, the Youth Arts Council pop-up performances will be activated in neighbourhoods across Kelowna. The Council members are inviting their neighbours, friends, and classmates to share music, dances, poetry, and fellowship. Bean Scene Coffee Works on Bernard Ave. is providing their rooftop patio space for a pop-up performance in May (official date to be announced), and this event is open and free to the general public. If any youth are interested in participating, they are welcome to message the council via Instagram. @RCA.Youth.Arts.Council