Becky Thiessen’s inspiration often comes from the excited minds of children in the communities in which she works; their willingness to try and their inhibition gives her the opportunity to see the world differently, and this is translated through her artwork. Fifteen years of community arts facilitation and education has gained her a wealth of training, knowledge and experience. Art City Inc, Graffiti Art Programming Inc, The North End Arts Centre and Art From the Heart are just a few of the organizations that she has worked and engaged with in the arts. Participation through community arts, collaboration and the belief that everyone is an artist has lead to the facilitation of many dynamic and large-scale group works, often engaging the most unengaged. Her empathetic, encouraging and gentle spirit inspires others to create and it is here that a mutual sense of inspiration occurs.
The aim of this project is to inspire students to create art that educates and informs a particular audience. An idea will be presented to the students – either a current event or a social justice topic – teachers and the artist may collaborate on this topic. Students will learn about a particular idea and discover how it relates to them. Video, images and discussions will be facilitated by the artist and as a class they will research the topic. Students will be introduced to various methods of art-making; they will learn that art is not only about painting a pretty picture but can be about activism and can be used to raise awareness about a matter that is important to them as individuals. They will explore various art making methods, with different materials and supplies. They will create their own artistic piece using the materials of their choice.