AFCY Event: 3rd Annual BIG BAM BOOM!

The AFCY Youth Advisory Council is a group of very inspiring people who come from across Toronto to provide AFCY with guidance and insights on everything from programming initiatives to marketing and recruiting strategies. How did we find these remarkable youth? Some started as AFCY interns, some have attended our workshops, and others have heard about the program through youth networks and wanted to get involved. All of them have had many years of experience in AFCY’s programs. They are a strong voice for AFCY, and they’re really something!
The YAC has been particularly active this spring. They recently elected Erin Amoah as Chairperson and Idan McAnuff as Vice Chairperson, both brand new positions for the council. They also welcomed a new member, Bright Osei-Agyeman, to the council in March 2011, bringing the total number of members up to nine.
Together the council runs the BIG BAM BOOM: AFCY Youth Arts Festival (BBB) every year. Catch a glimpse of their undeniable style at the third annual festival on Saturday June 4th and Sunday June 5th at the Harbourfront Centre for the Arts. This culminating event celebrates the achievements of AFCY’s 2010-11 program participants. It features a large-scale exhibition of artworks and a Saturday afternoon stage performance that includes hip hop, African drumming, beat box, vocal and music performances. Guest artists include glitching and popping dance crew Moonrunners and DJ Dark Knight. We are set to have Femi Lawson, YouTube sensation, emcee this year’s stage show, adding his own brand of comedy and enthusiasm to the Saturday afternoon performance while introducing each act. This year’s festival is once again headed by BBB President Stephanie Spafford, and council members Erin Amoah, Adrion Charles, Fitzroy Facey, Andrenne Finnikin, Balu Kanagalingam, Jordan Lewis, Idan McAnuff, and Bright Osei-Agyeman each lend their skills to plan, design, document and perform at the event. Hats off to this incredible team! Their spirit and dedication make the BBB AFCY’s most celebrated event of the year.

Recent News: Measuring our Work

AFCY runs over 157 arts educational programs each year.  That’s a whole lot of programs to operate, and to run them well with such a small staff and limited resources. Now you might be asking yourself, how does AFCY measure the great work we do? With the help of a 2010/11 Toronto Community Foundation Vital Ideas Award, AFCY is beginning to implement a fresh way of evaluating our outreach arts programs. It’s called Arts Informed Evaluation. The concept is based on the idea that art making can be used to effectively assess arts experiences.

This year, for the first time, we will begin to engage our outreach participants in art activities that will record and communicate the qualities and impact of our projects. This evaluative practice will be used alongside the more traditional methods we already use such as questionnaires. Our aim is to capture the thoughts and reactions that are brought out through creative processes in a community arts project. Conventional forms of evaluation might miss these, as well as the subtleties of their experiences. With this groundbreaking pilot initiative in place, AFCY will be in the forefront of the arts education program sector. We will be the only arts organization in Toronto that will have a formal arts-informed evaluation system to assess arts-based outreach programs.

AFCY is in the process of developing and distributing a manual and an introductory document on how to use this system. It has the potential of becoming the evaluative model for similar organizations across the province and perhaps beyond. It will be a wonderful feeling to be ahead of the pack. Best of all, it will give our participants opportunities to use the skills they learned during our programs to reflect on and measure their AFCY experiences.

Image Gallery: Projects Gallery

BIG BAM BOOM 2011 Gallery

BIG BAM BOOM 2010 Gallery