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LEAD = Listen, Empathize, Act, Drive

The holidays, especially ones that involve the ending of a year, are often reflective. They are an amalgamation, a coming together, a celebration of the many achievements and milestones that have been met during the year.

Artists Rendering Tales Collective Inc. has much to celebrate this year, not the least of which is the birth of LEAD, an arts based leadership movement that focuses on providing inspiring and uplifting programs for underserved youth in partnership with Marilyn Field MSM.

LEAD places students aged 11 – 13, who are at risk of not reaching their potential, in an intense, one week or extended arts program and allows them to experience and discover their strengths, address their challenges and develop communication and leadership skills in a short, invigorating and fruitful timeframe. Applying the words behind the acronym LEAD (Listen, Empathize, Act, Drive), students create together with ARTCi and community mentors. This helps them to prepare for the journey from elementary to secondary school and beyond, as it provides an experience that impacts and empowers them for a lifetime.

LEAD fosters creative and cultural growth in the students, allowing them to shed pre-­existing labels and step outside of difficult life circumstances to see their world with hope and opportunities. Students are immersed in activities involving drama, dance, literature/spoken-word, music, drumming, visual arts, photography / videography, Indigenous and media arts.

This year’s theme uses stories of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall as a provocation. LEAD will take place in 2020 at Britannia Elementary School from February 3rd-7th 2020. Students will explore the metaphor of walls in their lives, what it means to build them and what happens when they come down. Students notice and reflect on the theme, then embody and interpret their experience through different art forms each day for a week, working alongside up to 3 artists daily creating their own original art while applying the leadership values that drive the project. Furthermore, these students will invite others from across Canada to display their work on their collective ‘wall of inclusion’. On the final day, the students host an open studio for an audience of family, friends and community so they too can witness their process and pride of performance.

ARTCi is pleased to be working with Marilyn Field MSM as a consulting partner for LEAD. In 1994, teacher Marilyn Field founded DAREarts, a Canadian charity, to empower underserved children to unlock their potential using the arts. Under her leadership to 2019, DAREarts inspired over 200,000 children in underserved communities across Canada. From 2010 to 2019, DAREarts Vancouver empowered 1,030 children in the East Side. Retired from DAREarts, Field now advises nationally and internationally on arts empowering youth: www.2020world.caField’s methodsgive voice to Indigenous and underserved youth as theycreatively explore identity and address issues important to them. Her methods prove that, when children have confidence and courage, they see with 2020 perspective and lead change. Results include increased school attendance, decreased substance abuse and youth with hope. “Our youth learned how to turn to traditional and other positive support systems to take care of themselves,”wrote Webequie FN teacher Bill Jacob of her programs “I got hope wakin’ up every day,”wrote Leroy, 16.

ARTCi is actively seeking community partners and funders for LEAD. To find out more about making a donation, e-mail the ARTCi team at

The ARTCi team wishes you joy, prosperity, health and creativity this holiday season and into the New Year. Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for our programs!

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