This Youth WITH ART Project is a collaboration between Manitoba Environmental Youth Network (MEYN) and artist Karen Cornelius, in which grade 12 Dakota Collegiate students were introduced to environmental issues through art-making. MEYN is the youth program of Manitoba Eco Network, a non-profit organization that promotes positive environmental action and facilitates environmental awareness and expands community connections.
More information about the Manitoba Eco Network, MEYN, and their projects can be found here.
Students were introduced to environmental issues facing Winnipeg and the wider world, and responded to the issues through workshops that used a variety of art-making mediums. Projects included using printmaking techniques to remap the local neighbourhood as a greener, more environmentally friendly place, and a collage project exploring what the students loved and hated about Winnipeg.
From there, the focus was narrowed to the tangible issues of water and waste, particularly plastic water bottle waste. The class collected all the plastic water bottles in their school for four months, and then counted them. The students each created an action figure to help respond to their concerns about these issues. They animated their characters in a comic strip, created a story board, and then brought their action figure to life using stop motion video animation. The students were encouraged to explore their own creative voice as they expressed their ideas and concerns about water, plastic bottles, and waste. The results are humorous and sobering, cautionary and hopeful.