Youth find self-expression through words, movement and painting in a AFCY’s Digital Dialogues program

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TORONTO, ON (May 22, 2012): On May 23, more than 60 students from three Toronto public schools will come together to collaborate on an innovative multi-disciplinary arts project coordinated by Arts for Children and Youth (AFCY). Made possible with funding from TELUS, the AFCY project is called Digital Dialogues, and it’s inspiring Toronto youth to use arts/media technology as a tool for communicating what matters to them, and how they want to convey that to an international audience. The collaborative performance takes place between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, at Lord Dufferin Public School located at 350 Parliament Street in Regent Park.

The project combines filmmaking with three other arts disciplines: mural making, dance and beatboxing. Students in Grades 7 and 8 from the three schools have been working with AFCY artist mentors over the past three months to use the arts and technology to convey key messages such as Loyalty, Pride, Inspiration, Education, and Leadership. Students at Lord Dufferin Public School (Regent Park) focused their creative learning on mural making, Silverthorn Community School (Former City of York) students learned the art of beatboxing, and students at Beverley Heights Middle School (Jane-Finch) learned how to express themselves through dance. Each group’s creative journey was documented in three short films. Now that they have perfected their art forms, they will have the chance to share their talent with each other in a collaborative performance piece in which they can share their own cultures and experiences.

The big day on May 23 will be the first time the students from these schools will come together to collaborate and share their talents, with guidance from the artist mentors. The students will demonstrate their art forms for each other and have a chance to try each other art forms, culminating in a collaboration involving all the participants in one giant multidisciplinary performance. The artistic creations and collaborative experiences will also be documented in a short film.

The documentary film from the collaborative performance on May 23, and the three short films from the individual schools will be edited into a longer compilation film, which will be submitted for inclusion in the 2012 Olympic Horizons international film project in London, England, where it will represent Toronto in all its diversity at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“All of AFCY programs offer young people a platform and a safe collaborative environment where they can have their say,” explains Julie Frost, AFCY’s artistic and executive director. “This special collaborative project aims to position the work of young Toronto artists to be seen by international audiences in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics. 2012 Olympic Horizons, a youth arts initiative based in the UK, will select excerpts from AFCY’s film to be collaged into a collaborative film featuring the creative work of youth from several international cities. We are thrilled to be part of this amazing spotlight on youth arts and culture!” says Frost.

Young people realize that they are the future. Referring to her own aims with the project, one of the young participants emphatically proclaimed, “Kids need to have their voice heard because adults are not going to be here forever, and we are going to be in charge of everything!” Another chimed in, “I chose to depict the word Inspiration because, without inspiration, you’re a nobody!”

The Digital Dialogues film will also be shown locally at community celebrations at the three participating schools in June.

About Arts for Children and Youth (AFCY)
AFCY is a registered charitable organization. We ally with high priority communities in Toronto and empower marginalized children and youth by engaging them in hands-on, community- and school-based arts education programs that respect existing cultural and community activity, resulting in participatory action and social awareness. To learn more about us, please visit You can email us at or call us at 416-929-9314.


Media Contact:
Shehreen Ladha
Marketing and PR Coordinator
401 Richmond St. West, Suite 230
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8
416 929 9314 x 114 (Mon-Thurs.)


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