One of the greatest wishes as a parent is for your child’s happiness and success. And one of the greatest gifts you can offer is a wide range of opportunities to help them realize their full potential — including access to the arts. St. Albert Amplify Festival is a youth-led arts and culture celebration designed specifically for students grade 7 to age 21. Now in its fourth year, this city-funded event recognizes the importance of creativity and expression through the arts in the lives of youth, not only for personal growth and self-expression, but also engagement with the world around them. “We’re passionate about getting youth involved in the arts because of the immeasurable impact it can have on their lives,” says festival coordinator Kathleen Bell. “Tackling an artistic project is a safe way to learn about taking risks and recovering from missteps if a project or idea doesn’t quite work – tools youth can also use to overcome other pressing social challenges such as mental health, body image or bullying.” Bell points out that studies continue to show that youth who participate in art initiatives do better in school and everything from reading to math. “Artistic activities increase self-confidence, interpersonal problem-solving skills, a sense of leadership, civic values and active citizenship,” she explains. On Oct. 13 and 14 youth can experience an incredible weekend of music, arts and activities at the Kinsmen Banquet Centre in St. Albert. The Amplify Youth Advisory Committee, comprised of nearly 20 passionate students, have programmed an amazing lineup of live main stage music on Friday and Saturday night, innovative workshops like micro-gardening, pottery making, Instagram photography, upcycle art, special f/x makeup, stage fighting 101, henna body art, and cupcake decorating, as well as tons of free stuff. “It’s just fun! No matter who you are or whether you consider yourself ‘artistic’, you’ll have a great time at Amplify — it’s also a great place to just hang out with friends and get creative if inspiration strikes,” says Bell. Amplify also strives to empower young artists to realize their full potential, celebrate youth culture and showcase the richness and diversity of a new generation. Students get the chance to display their emerging talents and collaborate with others on a reliable platform designed specifically for innovative and experimental voices that would otherwise have little exposure. “We give young adults a sense of not just being a ‘youth’ artist, but an artist. We take their art seriously and provide professional experiences in a safe and friendly atmosphere where they can ask questions,” explains Bell. “It’s a chance to learn how to do a proper sound check from professional sound technicians, apply to have your art included in an art exhibit and participate in a community poetry slam.” This year, over 100 artists will be part of the Amplify Acoustic Stage, Youth Visual Art Exhibit and Poetry Slam, all free to festival-goers. Other activities everyone can enjoy at no cost are bath bomb making, t-shirt tie-dyeing, silk screening and button making — a caricature artist and roving magician will also be on hand. In addition to Saturday night main stage headliners The Royal Foundry, Paul Woida and The Prototype, Amplify’s Friday night ‘battle of the bands’, where local talent competes for a top prize, is an annual Festival highlight. St. Albert Amplify Festival organizers invite you to “Challenge Your Instincts,” the theme of this year’s Festival. “Amplify is really about creating opportunities for small, or large, successes. While intimidating, we encourage youth to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new,” says Bell. “It’s never too late to take advantage of the arts. For those who have never been to the Festival before, I would say you’re missing out — it’s a blast!” More information can be found at amplifyfestival.ca
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