St. Albert Amplify Youth Festival: “The Art of Living”

The Cause

The St. Albert Amplify Festival provides an inclusive space for youth to express their truest sense of identity through the arts. By youth for youth, the festival empowers young people to explore their artistic potential, while at the same time cultivating a sense of purpose and belonging within their day-to-day life. By creating opportunities for success, Amplify develops resiliencies in youth and gives them the tools they need to overcome the pressing social issues within their generation; such as mental illness, bullying, and struggling with body image.

The youth committee consists of 17 youth who guide all programming decisions for the festival. This year, they have decided on the theme “The Art of Living” to express what it means to be alive through a breath-taking, heart-stopping, mind-blowing weekend of music, poetry, dance, visual art, improv, a battle of the bands and more. Entirely composed, created and curated by young artists, Amplify is a fresh take on an arts and cultural festival designed specifically for students grade seven to age 21.

The goals of Amplify are:
• Empower young artists
• Support all youth in expressing their creativity
• Celebrate youth culture
• Showcase the richness and diversity of a new generation

Growing quickly in the two years since Amplify was formed as a festival, the committee now strives to provide educational experiences whenever it can, in whatever format fits the opportunity best. Whether it is an art exhibit, a battle of the bands, a youth filmmaking program or our ‘paint party’—we believe in providing innovative educational opportunities for youth by pursuing unique leadership and workshop experiences for young leaders and artists in our community. We want to change the way communities address youth-issues in their cities by creating revolutionary programming that truly empowers youth by helping them foresee a positive future for themselves.

Who Will it Benefit?

Amplify brings together the entire community of St. Albert, Edmonton, and surrounding areas in the Alberta Capital Region. The primary beneficiaries of this event are youth from grade seven to age 21 who participate in arts workshops and present their own art at the Festival.

Research confirms that youth participation in the arts increases their confidence, interpersonal skills, and problem solving skills and leads to the development of civic values, leadership, and active citizenship. Amplify strengthens the next generation of community leaders by allowing youth to develop critical-thinking skills and inventiveness that translates into positive decision making in their day-to-day lives and, later on, in the workforce. As a result, the entire community benefits.

The ripple-effect of integrating the arts into the fabric of any community is higher academic performance, a more positive outlook on community service, and lower drop-out rates among youth. When you give youth the tools they need to express themselves, you provide them with the ability to handle the growing challenges they face as they reach adulthood and train them to communicate when they need help. The consequence is a more creative, more innovative and more resilient community.

“The high standard and the attention given to the poets is something that is not quantifiable by any measure, as you truly do something that is powerful: you take them seriously.”
- Geoff Manderscheid, St. Albert Public Library

“The dancers, poetry readings, and bands were all amazing. Overall we just really liked the concept of the whole thing, we\'ve never been involved in something like that before, a festival of mixed arts targeted to youth only. I think that\'s really important to help get youth more involved in the artistic community, there aren\'t enough festivals like this!”
–Youth Performer, Amplify 2015