Found amid an explosion of DIY creativity ranging from homemade airplanes and robots to gigantic Mondospiders, the Museum of Vancouver Youth Council shared their exhibit, Concrete Expressions, at the first-ever Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. This community event served as fantastic conclusion to the first youth council team at the MOV.
Beginning in February 2011, a group of creative youth ages 16-18, from around Vancouver joined in a weekend long conversation at the MOV to discuss ideas of concern to youth in Vancouver. Housing & homelessness, our environmental footprint, art and performance, and multiculturalism topped the list – no small issues, to say the least. More challenging, would be deciphering how to represent these issues in physical format. After a few more brainstorming sessions, the youth council decided to combine notions of street art with environmental sustainability, and repurpose plastic bags to create a gigantic knitted "plastic scarf" with which to yarnbomb the iconic crab statue in front of the MOV. Essentially bringing street art to the doorstep of the institution, and carrying the conversation beyond the museum’s walls.
“If I were to describe the youth council in one word, it would probably be 'unpredictable' - in a good way.” Says youth council member Chenoa Lui. “The creativity and dedication of everyone involved helped shape a most unique and exciting project that turned out to be nothing like what we first imagined, yet at the same time, nothing short of amazing.”
Additionally, the council members created a documentary film about the process of creating the scarf, and invited young musicians and spoken word performers to join a night of “Concrete Expression” at the museum on May 14th. Watch the video here.
In summarizing her experience, Tina Yuan states, “Youth Council really brought me a whole new opportunity to explore my own potential with others like me, and I really enjoyed the whole experience of putting up an exhibit.”
From the outset, the youth council divided into three teams of multimedia producers, curators, and event programmers for a very busy 10 weeks together. Inspired by an initial tour of the MOV’s archival collections from Joan Seidl, council members were encouraged and mentored by museum staff Carman Kwan, Gala Milne, Amanda Gibbs, and media producer Selina Crammond. Overall coordination was carried out by Vancouver media educator Wendy Chen, and special thanks is extended to the Vancouver Design Nerds, and Birkeland Brothers Wool Company for their aid and encouragement of Concrete Expressions. Funding support for this project was graciously provided through the BC Arts Council, City of Vancouver, Vancouver Foundation, Vi Nguyen and the Youth Philanthropy Council, and the Chris Spencer Foundation.
“What I really liked or even just thought was cool was that young people like me, were able to come together and put their ideas together and make something out of it. This was my first time working in a youth council and we weren't able to make something completely crazy and revolutionizing, but in the future I really believe that this kind of youth council will make a bigger impact. In the future, I look forward to see a youth council that is mature enough to get a job done and yet creative enough to be revolutionizing. I think that is what youth is all about." - Chano Huang
A huge thank you goes to the council members who volunteered their time after class and between other volunteer commitments to take part in this pilot project. Your dedication and enthusiasm for participating in a Museum of Vancouver project was truly inspiring. As many of the council members have expressed interest in continuing participation at the MOV, the Museum of Vancouver expects to facilitate future youth-driven community conversations and projects.
Thank-you so much to all the youth council members and we look forward to working with you soon!