iDAREarts is a monthly after-school program for DAREarts Grads and their friends. Each 2-hour workshop focuses on an art form that provides the teens with new skills, connecting our youth with professional artist-educators and inspiring them to continue achieving excellence.
On a chilly Friday night, 12 teens gathered at the Toronto School of Art for an introduction to Digital Art. Although these teens live in different parts of the city and go to different high schools, DAREarts continues to bond them together.
During our opening circle we met John Bingham, the professional photographer who was our guest artist for the evening. All of the teens shared any past experience with Photoshop and photography, with most saying that while they have interest in both, they don’t have access to professional software and equipment. They were all eager to test out the software they hear about daily, and to see how their own photos could transform into fantastic creations with the right tools. The TSA allowed us to do just that!
The teens partnered up and John took everyone’s portrait. After the photos were uploaded, he showed the teens a few basic filters to manipulate their portraits. The next hour was filled with experimentation, collaboration and laughter as the teens discovered the wonderful world of Photoshop. Once they mastered the basics, they were dared to try out different tools on their own to tweak their photos in interesting and unique ways.
As we gathered in a closing circle to thank John and share some reflections, the teens reminded us why these monthly iDAREarts gatherings are so important. As high school students, they are dealing with so much pressure – academically and socially – and the love of art they found through DAREarts gives them a healthy way to express their feelings, relieve stress and find support from their fellow DAREarts delegates.
iDAREarts reminds them that they have already met high expectations of excellence in the past, and can continue to do so as life throws them new challenges. They have their mantra: “I am DAREarts!” It reminds them of their inner strength, their leadership and of how they will continue to ignite change in their communities through high school and beyond.
We would like to extend a very special thank you to the Toronto School of Art for making this session possible!
DAREarts is a children’s charity that uses the arts to empower youth at-risk to become leaders. Our lead supporters are Northbridge Insurance, Guy Carpenter, Scotiabank, and agencies of the government of Ontario: Ontario Arts Council & Ontario Trillium Foundation.