The Art Education Program’s intention is to teach young students, of first nations and non-first nations ancestry, the skills, history and stories of traditional first nations artwork. An advanced carver from the Northern Cultural Expressions Society holds weekly instructions. Through creating and reflecting youth can increase awareness of self and others. The program aims to assist in building coping skills that help with stress and trauma symptoms; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy life-affirming pleasures of making art.
Two of the advanced carvers from our organization will be the instructors in the schools. The lessons begin with learning traditional shapes, recognizing traditional designs, and understanding why art was made in first nations culture. As students progress they move onto more advanced projects. To complete individual projects, they will be supplied with: sketchbooks, drawing kits, have full use of shop tools and painting supplies. NCES will also provide various books to assist with design ideas. Teachers or principles are required to be in attendance to supervise their students but are always welcome to participate.
The purpose of the Art Education Project is to bring experiential cultural programming into Yukon schools; also, to help grow and sustain traditional art forms in the Yukon. The project aims to increase awareness of the rich, varied artistic and cultural history of the Yukon. In the process, it’s our hope to affect change in young peoples lives and in our communities.
Traditionally, NCES targeted youth at risk for their programming; the Art Education Projects also focus on these youth but are open to all students who show interest in the art form.
Another aim of the project is to improve instruction and planning in order to better meet the needs of our students. While this serves to enrich the student’s experience, it is also beneficial to our carvers and the long-term sustainability of the project. As we continue to build, develop and hone our skills as instructors/mentors, we open up possibilities and move forward.