Building Youth Engagement through Art in Grande Prairie, Alberta

Posted on July 1, 2021
By Davina Dawson

There are a lot of interesting things happening within CBYF, many of them fun-filled, and I have been incredibly grateful for the opportunity to create and execute projects of my choice.

cbyf open call for blog


Hello blog readers! I’m Davina, a Summer Intern for Communities Building Youth Futures (CBYF) here in Grande Prairie, Alberta. I’m currently studying Addictions Counseling at the University of Lethbridge and working as a senior instructor at Grande Prairie Live Theatre’s Rising Star Program. I am writing this blog post to share the awesome art-based projects that are happening this summer.

Photovoice project

One of the many things that I love about CBYF is the opportunities the initiative gives to youth to have their voices heard. I wanted to reflect that in my project, so I decided to do a photovoice project, with an online gallery to present the submissions. I love photovoice; they are such a fun and interesting way to learn about other community members’ perspectives. A photovoice is a method of research that uses photography and art as a way of meaningfully giving voice to marginalized groups


The Travelling Canvas

Another CBYF member and Summer Intern, Matthew, created a project that fueled his passion for art and sociology: the Travelling Canvas. It is a sheet of canvas that community members are encouraged to add onto, using prompts related to growth and identity. The goal is that through art we may gain a better understanding of the people we are serving in the community. The beauty of the Travelling Canvas is the personality and connection it adds that we typically lose when collecting and reading data traditionally. A fun fact from Matthew: the canvas is so big it would not fit in his studio and had to be prepped in his kitchen.

cbyf art blog image 2

Community mural

Recently, a mural was finished by youth participants of CBYF. The thought behind the mural was to create work that would represent CBYF’s goals and represent multiple groups in Grande Prairie. There were two very specific challenges faced by this diverse team of heroes in their quest to create the mural: choosing the design, and the texture of the wall. Fortunately, they prevailed! In the blistering heat (literally blistering; it was well over 40 degrees), our team members worked hard together to create the captivating mural. As a bonus, it turned out the strange, popcorn-y texture of the wall was an asset when combining colors!


Human library

Our next project is a human library that is being headed by Vonn, a CBYF youth member and Summer Intern. A human library is a fun and interactive way of hearing tons of different stories and perspectives on life. Vonn wanted to create a space for meaningful engagement and shared storytelling in a way that highlighted the importance CBYF placed on those two elements. As someone who loves hearing other people’s stories, I think this event is going to be incredibly fun and engaging.


There are a lot of interesting things happening within CBYF, many of them fun-filled, and I have been incredibly grateful for the opportunity to create and execute projects of my choice. I am also grateful for the help and support I’ve been given. I am very excited for up-and-coming projects and to see what else CBYF has in store for the future. I’m sure that it will be great!

Youth, Communities Building Youth Futures, Youth Engagement, CBYF Blog, Homepage Blog, Grande Prairie

Davina Dawson

By Davina Dawson

I am a Bachelor of Health Science student majoring in Addictions Counselling at the University of Lethbridge. The goal is to one day work with youth in a counseling and mental health capacity. For the past five years I have worked as a Senior Instructor with Grande Prairie Live Theatres Rising Star Theatre program. My interests lie in youth education, my cat Zod, drinking tea while reading a good book.

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