Graffiti to kick off summer of youth activities

Local youth add a little acceptable graffiti to the Morinville Skate Park last summer. A similar event will take place July 18, allowing youth to learn at the hands of some professional street artists. – File Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Handing someone a can of spray paint and telling them to put their mark on public property may seem like an odd project to roll under the Town of Morinville’s umbrella, but that is precisely what will take place next Wednesday afternoon.

Titled Graffiti in the Park, the afternoon program is a chance for youth to put their mark on the Bob Foster Skate Park, learning at the hands of actual graffiti and street artists.

Morinville’s youth worker, A.D. Richardson, said the event will run from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and is not merely young people whipping up some squiggles and designs on the bare concrete. “The skate park has been a really great hub for teens; everyone uses it,” Richardson said, adding the park is well-regarded among Edmonton skateboarders. “The ones in the city are maintained pretty well. They try to keep up with the graffiti. We really want to do that with the one here in Morinville as well.”

The youth worker said she has requested public works to clean up the existing graffiti as best they can ahead of letting local youth loose with the spray paint. But not just any design will do.

“Graffiti is a form of art and it is one of the oldest forms of art,” Richardson said. “There may be some people who don’t believe that, but in the right place street art is important, and it is how a lot of kids express themselves. I want to teach them how to do it properly.”

In order to do that, Richardson has convinced a few friends from Edmonton to come out of the shadows to teach youth how to do it. “These are some street artists that are pretty famous in that world in Edmonton,” she said.

Richardson realizes there may be confusion as to why the Town is endorsing graffiti when there have been incidents of graffiti in the community that have been greatly frowned upon. “Tagging somebody/s building, somebody’s property; that’s not appropriate,” she said. “In Edmonton they have designated zones that are for street artists to show their things.”

In Morinville, that designated area will be the skate park, but Richardson is quick to point out the street art needs to be done properly. That is why she has enlisted the help of professionals, street artists who will teach youth about stencil design and application, tools that will allow youth to add their touch to the park while taking a greater sense of ownership in the youth facility.

The artistic event is a no cost event. Richardson said a barbecue fundraiser will also be held for the Youth in Action Committee.

The event kicks off a series of summer youth events planned by Morinville’s Community Service Department. A series of do-it-yourself nights will take place at the Youth Centre from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. July 19, Aug. 9 and Aug. 23. Additionally, Richardson has a Youth Culinary School scheduled for July 24 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. with Chef Phil Hughes. The $10 per person event will teach youth how to create a four course meal, complete with all the table etiquette that goes with it. Other summer events include dinner and movie nights, and trips to Capital Ex and the Edmonton Fringe Festival.

For more information on summer youth programming, contact A. D. Richardson at 780-939-7839.

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