A herd of 15 caribou will be making the rounds in Hamilton.

Local artist David Hind created colourful life-sized caribous made out of re-purposed aluminum.

 

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Roughly 500 children taking part in ARTASIA, a Culture for Kids in the Arts (CFKA) education program, wrote and drew out their wishes for local parks, and their illustrations and text have been transferred onto Hind's caribou creations.

"We asked the children to help us to create the rules of engagement, which is the charter of rights, for the animals in the parks, for nature, trees, birds, flowers, anything in the park," explained Vitek Wincza, CKFA and Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts founder and program director.

"For example, we don't want anyone to swear in the park. We don't want them to smoke cigarettes in the park. So children come up with the ideal scenario. That's the basic promise."

The ARTASIA project runs at 15 sites across the city.

"We're sharing the voices of children within the Hamilton community and encouraging the children of Hamilton to see potential," said Renee Jackson, ARTASIA project leader. "By creating work that shares idea about how to transform neighbourhoods, how to take care of communities. We are learning from the kids."

Teens who help run the ARTASIA program, called apprentices, are getting their hands dirty with the art project as well. Messages from the children aren't just being passed along by the instructors. Apprentices are being inspired by the many messages from the kids, said Justine Kicek.

"We've heard a lot about keeping parks clean, no bullying, lots of things against smoking," added Kicek. "It's emotionally, a little bit hard (to listen to the kids messages), but when you think of the positives, that they're being exposed to things that they want to change and see the potential in change, that's really heartwarming."

Wincza said the traveling herd is just the beginning. He hopes to collaborate with local artists and create furniture in the parks, and hopefully make these outdoor public spaces more of a community hub.

"We believe the parks are very important to any community," Wincza said. "It's a bumping place where people can meet and exchange ideas, where people can have a social life. We don't have enough engagement."

The herd of caribou will begin their journey at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts and will make their way throughout the city, including an appearance at SuperCrawl.

ARTASIA's exhibition opening takes place Friday, August 24 at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.