By Amanda Gabriele
Photograph courtesy of AGO Photographer, Carlo Catenazzi. © 2008 Art Gallery of Ontario.
The AGO’s Youth Council is a motivational outlet for youths and teens to express themselves through artistic creations. M’Lex Alexandrescu, a 19-year-old artist and activist, has been involved with the council for the past two years and is currently focused on promoting youth issues through the AGO blog and online culture-zines.
Born in Romania, M’Lex moved to Canada at the age of three. Taking up residence in North York, M’Lex quickly developed a love for the Canadian outdoors. “North York is where my love of nature comes from,” says M’Lex of the many beautiful neighbouring parks and ravines.
M’Lex will spend the bulk of the year studying at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Cambridge. “Architecture is one of the most important things,” says M’Lex passionately in reference to the transforming AGO. “There is so much potential to do something good with it.” These sentiments echo M’Lex’s future hopes to combined architectural expertise with politically charged worldviews to explore community building initiatives.
Since joining, M’Lex has become a mentor to others participating in the program. “The Youth Council allows you to start where you are and move forward to create different things in a better way,” says M’Lex. “It provides opportunities to do large-scale projects, addressing larger issues with larger communities.”
M’Lex feels passionate about helping youths become aware of their opportunities and artistic potential, and helping them tell their own story. The Youth Council brings groups of people, projects and ideas together to create a collaborative and creative setting. The blog illustrates not only the youth initiatives in the gallery, but also the attention paid to outside social issues.
“The Youth Council creates opportunities for young people to get involved,” says M’Lex about the future of the council. “It builds strong ties with outside organizations and continues to create change.” As the nature of community involvement and social activism changes with the rise in technology and social networking, M’Lex’s youthful disposition and willingness to take chances is a great asset to the AGO’s Youth Council.