Youth Arts Festival 2017

Youth Arts Festival program and Talent Slam line up announced!

Oxygen Art Centre’s 3rd annual Youth Arts Festival opens on Thursday, February 23rd from 7-10pm with in flux, an art exhibition by Kootenay artists Hannah DeBoer-Smith, Maya Kacsmar-Mayoh, Olivia Mansveld, Teyana Neufeld and Tyler Wright.  This exhibition will then be up at Oxygen until March 11th and gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 1-5pm.  Admission is free and everyone is welcome!


On Friday, February 24th at 7pm Hip Hop group Project Soul perform ‘Back to Basics’ at the Capitol Theatre with special guests Dance Fusion youth dancers!  Tickets are $5 (Children & Youth 29 and under) and $10 (Adults) and are available at the Capitol Box office.  Project Soul will also be visiting L.V. Rogers Secondary School that day for a lunchtime performance and talk back, and are also offering free dance workshops for youth during their time here!  For more information or to register visit


Festival programming continues on Saturday, February 25th from 3-5pm with a free writing workshop with Mitchell Scott for youth ages 15-29 at Oxygen Art Centre.  Mitchell Scott is Editor-In-Chief of the award winning Kootenay Mountain Culture and Coast Mountain Culture Magazines.  His career as a writer and creative professional spans 20 years.  Drop-ins are welcome but space is limited.  Youth can register ahead of time to ensure a place in the workshop by emailing


Nelson’s performance of the TALENT SLAM is also on Saturday, February 25th at 7pm at the Capitol Theatre.  This year the call out was West Kootenay wide and auditions were held in Nelson and in Trail!  Congratulations to Sam Hobeyn, Kayleigh Hill, Maddie Kinghorn, Talel McBriar, Matthew Goddard, Alex McIntyre, Shawna Woelke, Agatha Storie & Grace Markle, Quinn Barron & Kozmo Sammartino, Bronwen Bird, Catalyst Loa, Dominique Adams, James Alexander & Dexter Gibson, Geordi Campos, Ava Koeltgen & Mélodie Giguère, who make up the performer line up for the 2017 TALENT SLAM!  Selected performers receive one-on-one mentorship to develop their acts for the big night with mentors Bessie Wapp, Lucas Myers, Slava Doval and Nadine Tremblay.  This year’s TALENT SLAM will be hosted by the multi talented Ty Wright!  Tickets are $5 for ages 29 and under and $10 for everyone else, and are available at the Capitol Theatre box office.


The festival continues on Sunday February 26th with an all ages dance cypher at Nelson & District Youth Centre from 3-5pm.  (A cypher is a Hip Hop term for a dance circle where dancers freestyle).  Erica Dee will MC the cypher and will DJ along with DJ Fluxo, and Project Soul will lead the cypher along with special guest Hip Hop dancers and singers!  Everyone is welcome to attend the cypher and we encourage the Hip Hop communities in Trail, Rossland and anywhere in the West Kootenays, to come dance with Nelson’s in what we hope is just the beginning for closer creative ties between our communities.


Sunday’s programming continues for youth ages 15-29 with The Backstage Lounge at Oxygen Art Centre from 5-11pm.  The Backstage Lounge is a creative ‘hang out’ space for youth with a small stage for open mic performances as well as art projects and free food sponsored by Kootenay Coop and Thor’s Pizza!  If you would like to sign up/pre-register for the open mic please e-mail Registering at the event and drops in are also welcome.


This year’s Youth Arts Festival then goes on the road to include programming in Trail for the first time!  This more regional approach to festival programming hopes to spread the benefits and creative access that the festival provides, to more youth in the West Kootenays!  Project Soul will be in Trail with a lunchtime performance and talk back at J.L. Crowe Secondary School on Tuesday, February 28th, and will also be offering free dance workshops to youth dancers in Rossland and Trail!  The group will then perform ‘Back to Basics’ at The Bailey Theatre with special guests Steps Dance Centre and Youth Action Network Rossland youth dancers!  Then on Saturday March 4th at 7pm a second performance of the TALENT SLAM will take place, this time on the stage of The Bailey Theatre!  Tickets for both shows are $5 (Children & Youth 29 and under) and $10 (Adults) and are available at The Bailey Box office.


The goals of Oxygen Art Centre’s annual Youth Arts Festival are to encourage youth to pursue their artistic talents and interests, and those of their peers in a professional and meaningful way that can be celebrated by the community at large though attendance at the all-ages events.  The festival also provides mentorship and workshops that develop skills, educate and inform youth about professional art practices.  Everyone is invited to come out and support this important programming initiative and celebrate youth arts culture in our communities!


Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges festival supporters; British Columbia Arts Council, Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Osprey Community Foundation, Can-Filters, Kootenay Co-op, Thor’s Pizza, Nelson & District Youth Centre, City of Nelson and Business for the Arts sponsors Hall Printing, Juice FM, Nelson Star and The Bailey Theatre in Trail and the Capitol Theatre in Nelson also worked together to enhance the 3rd annual Youth Arts Festival by bringing out Project Soul with funding from BC Touring Council, BCTC Community Presenter Youth Engagement Program and Columbia Power.


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