Provincial cut leaves Saskatoon art skills program without funding
Participants of SCYAP's Urban Canvas Project have completed 12 public murals in Saskatoon
A program that uses art to provide opportunities for marginalized people in Saskatoon needs help after the provincial government cut its funding.
SCYAP's Urban Canvas Project is a full-time, 39-week program that uses art as a jumping-off point to provide at-risk or marginalized people aged 16 to 30 with training in life and employment skills.
"We provide an environment through the arts that's comfortable, safe, where they feel they can open up and break down some of those barriers," said Clay Shaw, an operations manager with SCYAP.
Students receive the equivalent of an introductory university arts program alongside personal development such as communication and resumé building.
"The goal, by the time they end the program, is to get these individuals who come to us, that are not employed and not in school, back to an employment or school opportunity," Shaw said.
Each 39-week cycle culminates in a mural project. So far 12 of these murals have been painted throughout Saskatoon at places like St. Paul's Hospital, the Calder Centre and White Buffalo Youth Lodge.
The project was funded by the provincial Ministry of the Economy. Shaw said SCYAP was informed at the end of the program's last cycle that funding had been cut. SCYAP's core provincial funding, which Shaw said "helps pay for our rent," is still in place.
SCYAP is now looking for another funding source for the Urban Canvas Project.
"We're going to re-apply through [the provincial government] and other places, because we feel serving these at-risk youth or marginalized people before they get to a place where they're in trouble in their lives, we feel it's very necessary," Shaw said.
With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning