Youth at The Spot create mural to show their 150 reasons to love Canada

Kyle Jackson, local artist (left), has been facilitating the artistic process for The Spot’s young artists.

Peggy’s Cove, surfing, bagpipes and donairs – these are just a few of the reasons youth at The Spot love Nova Scotia, and by extension, Canada.

Canadians have been sharing the many reasons they love our country on the 150reasons.ca website. Through art, youth from The Spot are bringing these reasons to life, celebrating Canada’s and the Maritime’s cultural mosaic, natural beauty, history and unique attributes.

The Spot is a music and art program for young adults aged 12 to 30, offered free of charge. Accessible to all youth within this age range, the target population is youth who are at high risk for mental illness or addiction, those living in poverty or experiencing insecurity in the areas of housing, food, education and/or social interaction, youth from the LGBTQ community, newcomers and other youth who face social challenges or discrimination. The Spot was created by Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Connections Halifax. The group meets twice weekly for two hours.

The Spot is one of 60 community organizations across the country asked by VIBE Arts to participate in the “150+ Reasons We Love Canada” national art project. VIBE is a Toronto-based charitable organization that engages under-served youth in free arts education programs. The project is engaging youth in every province and territory in the creation of large hand-painted murals that express the many reasons they love Canada.

For youth at The Spot, the mural provided an opportunity to challenge their own assumptions about their artistic skill. Kyle Jackson, local artist, has been facilitating the artistic process for The Spot’s young artists. The most rewarding part of the project for Jackson has been seeing youth who say, “I can’t do art,” create such beauty together.

Heather MacDonald, Recreation Therapist, said, “The project has created lots of positive interactions among participants.”

The final murals will be exhibited on the platforms of Toronto subway stations; on billboards throughout the country; and in airports from coast to coast to coast, including Charlottetown, Fredericton, St. John’s, Moncton and Halifax.