We all remember the afternoon energy crash after a full day of high school. Good news: the AGO has a very special pick-me-up. Teens aged 14–18 can develop their artmaking skills, build portfolios and channel their creative energy into a special Integrated Studio Program designed just for their age group, with activities ranging from life-drawing to sound art.
We spoke with practicing artist Olia Mishchenko, who teaches Integrated Studio Projects: Multi Media Age 14–18 (beginning October 14), an intensive mixed-media course with a focus on contemporary artmaking.
AGO: Who exactly takes this course?
Olia: What is so great about it is that there are many different types of students who take this course – those who are just starting high school and curious about art, and those who are about to head to university and are working on expanding their portfolio. For many of them, I think, the course offers a type of art program that is an alternative to what is offered at their school. I know that for some of them it also offers the chance to meet other teens outside their school environment that share their interests and passions.
AGO: What is the most exciting part of this course?
Olia: Introducing young artists to a contemporary art practice that highlights collaboration and experimentation in a studio setting is an exciting thing. They have an opportunity to work and explore multiple modes of artmaking, different art mediums and new ideas. We work in traditional ways (like intaglio prints) but also make work that takes its form through digital media, installations, projections, etc.
AGO: What surprises you about the young artists who have taken the course?
Olia: It surprises me how mature and aware they are, but also how little exposure they have had to contemporary art practice. It is always very refreshing to see how open they are to new ways of thinking and making.
AGO: Having a working artist teach the course is an important part of the experience offered to these teens. Can you describe your own practice?
Olia: For over a decade, I have worked collaboratively with my collective Terrarea on sculpture installation and time-based practice. My own practice is in drawing that is interested in the social aspects of human-built spaces.
You can find more information on our Youth Courses on the AGO website. In addition to Olia’s Integrated Studio Projects: Multi Media Age 14–18, there are two other Integrated Studio Project courses focusing on Painting and Sculpture on Monday evenings. All courses are on sale now and begin as soon as October 2.
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AGO Youth Programs are generously supported by Robert Harding & Angel Yang, with additional assistance from the Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation.