The Vancouver Queer Arts Festival (QAF) and QMUNITY Gab Youth are teaming up to present a songwriting workshop for queer youth and their allies.
Funded in part by the Access to Music Foundation, the 16-week songwriting workshop gives queer youth and allies of all levels of song writing experience and opportunity to develop their song writing skills. QSONG (Queer Songwriters of a New Generation) will be led by queer singers and song writers Sarah Wheeler and Melissa Endean.
With two out of three queer students saying they feel unsafe at school and suicides seven times the national average for their age group, the statistics are overwhelming. And it is these alarming numbers that has QAF Acting Artistic Director Rachel Iwaasa singing the praises of this workshop.
“The Arts Health Network cites research showing that participation in the arts are highly effective in reducing tension and protecting against depression,” says Iwassa. “Overall, participation in arts-based activities and in creative expression has been shown to have stronger positive benefits for health than participation in many other types of activities, including sports.”
In addition to the research, Iwaasa points to QAF successes with queer youth since they began programming for them in 2009.
“In post-festival surveys and interviews, QAF’s youth workshop participants tell us they gained a greater sense of connection to the queer communities, and increased confidence to stand up for themselves and others,” she says.
She also insists that it is no mere coincidence that Xtra’s recent Top 30 Under 30 series, which profiled young queer community leaders, featured six QAF artist alumni.
“The arts are a terrific way we can support the next generation of leaders, a way for them to find their community and find their voice at the the same time,” she concludes.
Participants will be given recording and broadcast opportunities, guest mentor sessions with some of Canada’s top names in queer songwriting, as well as a live appearance at the 2014 Queer Arts Festival this summer.
Like all youth programming offered by Access to Music, Qmunity and Queer Arts Festival, QSONG is free of charge. The initial drop-in workshops will take place February 26, March 26 and April 30 at the Queer Arts Festival (QAF) offices at Gordon Neighbourhood House. Interested youth are invited to contact Rachel@prideinart.ca for more information.
The Vancouver Queer Arts Festival is an annual showcase of queer arts, culture and history, celebrating the unique creative expressions of visual and performing artists who identify as part of the queer communities. Presented by the Pride in Art Society, QAF features a curated visual arts show, a community art show, and 3 dynamic weeks of performances and workshops from all artistic disciplines, including music, dance, theatre, literary and media arts. Visit http://queerartsfestival.com for more information.