The Lowertown community had a great time at MASC’s Awesome Arts Festival that took place on Friday March 31st at Viscount Alexander Public School.

Alongside professional performances by Oto-Wa Taiko (Japanese drumming), Julianne Lavertu of Cultural Arts Studio (Afro-Caribbean dance), Stuti Mukherjee (Indian classical dance) and Just Gumboots (South-African gumboot dance), community members of all ages from Lowertown and Sandy Hill took to the stage and screen to share the creations they’ve been working on through the winter months. Several partners, including the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre and Reconnect Ontario, provided key funding for these art residencies.

Highlights included the premiere of a music video created by Lowertown youth with JustJamaal ThePoet and videographer Craig Conoley. This project was supported by a SHINE Youth Led Arts grant from Crime Prevention Ottawa and the United Way/Centraide Eastern Ontario in partnership with the Lowertown Community Resource Centre.

Claudia Salguero MASC artist

Audiences also had the chance to experience Louis Mercier’s traditional French-dance workshops with seniors at 160 Charlotte, captured in a mini-documentary by videographer Shaun Elie.

Lowertown students from the École catholique Sainte-Anne performed live onstage in a dance routine choreographed and developed with the Bboyizm Dance Company.

The celebrations continued through Saturday April 1st in the Arts Court Atelier where artworks created during Awesome Arts, including an environmental mural led by Claudia Salguero and Emily Rose Michaud at York Street Public School, were shared in a public vernissage. Live music by Colores Andinos and a hands-on birch-bark art workshop with Louis Mercier rounded out the event.

Mural Claudia Salguero, Emily-Rose Michaud Creative Collaboration York St Public School Awesome Arts 2023

Claudia Salguero, a MASC artist originally from Colombia and known for her colourful, larger-than-life murals explained what Awesome Arts means to her and others.

This is my 4th MASC Awesome Arts and I feel so honoured! I have created seven murals for the program. It is a gift to us as art educators to see kids empowered by the experience and proud of their own creation and message to future generations. As a MASC artist I feel honoured to have seen, over the years, the pride of the community grow through Awesome Arts while discovering and showcasing their talents in so many artistic disciplines.

MASC is grateful to our Lowertown partners for supporting the Awesome Arts program for the past 14 years. It’s always such a treat to see the community shine!

Originally published by the Lowertown Echo