"Art can prevent crime. It's that simple." says Wab Kinew, artist with "With Arts" (Winnipeg Arts Council)
What happens when artists and community groups collaborate has been nothing short of transformative right here in Winnipeg.
Engaging WITH ART is a brand new documentary about a one-of-a-kind program spearheaded by the Winnipeg Arts Council. It matches artists with community groups to tackle an issue that matters deeply in a neighbourhood or community here in Winnipeg.
The results have been powerful.
Artist Sarah Crawley worked with a group of Eritrean women on a photography project that has instilled lasting confidence.
"It helped me restore some lost roles at home", Enderasu Teweldebrahan explains "I was able to be the teacher of my children in photography and strengthen parental roles that were weakened during the integration process in a new society".
A rap mentorship program in the inner city has given youth a positive way to channel energy. As Wab Kinew, the rap mentor featured in the documentary says "Art can prevent crime. It's that simple."
"WITH ART is extremely rewarding as the artwork lives on in the community long after the project is 'finished'," said Tricia Wasney, Manager of Public Art at the Winnipeg Arts Council. "Not just the participants but the entire city benefits from the lasting impact of creative expression of social issues and Winnipeg realities.
Filmmaker Jim Agapito says the program also has a lasting impact on the artists. "I think I can speak for all the WITH ART artists when I say our lives and art forms have been enriched by this program. The resulting artwork engages others. It acts as a special kind of inspiration that helps to break down stereotypes and barriers which is essential for a city."
See the film tonight, Jun 4, 5:30 p.m. at Cinematheque. Free admission.