Neechee Studio: A fresh new program of free art workshops for Aboriginal youth

Led by local Emerging and Aboriginal Artists

Introducing Neechee Studio! Through grants from the RCMP’s and Carleton University, community partners and Aboriginal youth have created Neechee Studio, a fresh new program for Aboriginal youth, involving free art workshops, led by local emerging and Aboriginal artists. Neechee Studio aims to empower the health and well being of Aboriginal youth (ages 14-30) through artistic expression. The free art workshops are a presentation of Definitely Superior Art Gallery’s young Die Active Art Collective with support from the Regional Multicultural Youth Council (RMYC), Dennis Franklin Cromarty (DFC) High School, Matawa First Nations and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN).

This exciting youth-driven initiative focuses on artistic expression and learning various art mediums and skills, as an empowering and reparative method to address the personal experiences of Aboriginal youth, who have been exposed to family, peer and domestic violence. In this way, Neechee Studio will help to address the historical and present challenges associated with family and relationship violence in Aboriginal communities.

Over a six month period  youth will be guided by professional art instructors with the goal of delivering seven varied projects. Each session will address the issues of family violence and healthy relationships with young Aboriginal people in a way that is both restorative and skill building.

The art workshops take place, at Definitely Superior Art Gallery with an anticipated participation of  30-50 youth at each monthly session. Those who live far away or cannot make it to the workshops may also share their art online through instagram #neecheestudio. Neechee Studio’s workshops culminate in an online exhibition, a live exhibition and a publication.

As Neechee Studio is a youth-led initiative, young Aboriginal artists such as Lucille Atlookan, will be an integral part of the success of the project, assisting with the formation of the overall project focus, workshop design and outreach in terms of Aboriginal youth involvement.

QUOTE ? Why Neechee Studio?

“Because art is a healing tool. …When I paint, I paint my emotions and it makes me feel good. I don’t plan when I paint, I just put the paint down and it comes out very dark because I use my art to tell my story. I’ve lost a lot of people in my life, I’ve been through a lot, just like any other aboriginal young woman. I was very shy about showing my work, scared about what people would think, but I just sent my work to Die Active and it was a part of their show.” -Lucille Atlookan

Atlookan is a 24 year old Anishnawbe young artist from Eabametoong First Nation (Fort Hope), currently residing in Thunder Bay. Lucille works predominantly in painting, but includes poetry in some of her art. Lucille has shown her art at Definitely Superior Art Gallery and is a longstanding member of the gallery’s young Die Active Art Collective. Lucille is greatly inspired by her late uncle Lorne Shawinimash and Francisco de Goya.

How Can Youth Participate?

Aboriginal youth from all communities (ages 14-30) are welcome to join? all they have do is join Neechee Studio’s facebook group, or email: neecheestudio@gmail.com and then come to workshops! They all take place 5:00 to 8:00pm at Definitely Superior Art Gallery, full schedule will be posted on facebook and at definitelysuperior.com.   DefSup is located at 250 Park Ave. in Thunder Bay. These are drop-in style workshops, and participants may come to as many as they like.  Free food and beverages are  provided.

Definitely Superior Art Gallery ? Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts: Laureate Winner-2013 & Finalist-2010/2011/2013 ? Thunder Bay & Northwestern Ontario’s non-profit/charitable Artist-Run Centre for the Multi-Disciplinary Contemporary Arts

For additional information, please contact

Lora Northway, Youth/Community Outreach Administrator,

Definitely Superior Art Gallery

(807) 344-3814 / loradefsup@hotmail.com

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Cpl. Marc H. Bohemier, Thunder Bay RCMP Detachment

(807) 623-2791, ext 236 / marc.bohemier@rcmp-grc.gc.ca