Children’s Views of Urban Living, hosted by the Child in the City Project, is about more than arts and crafts, however. It’s a way of understanding how children perceive their city and give them a voice in their own communities, said project co-ordinator Gillian Petrini.
“We wanted to highlight that they are capable and that they have the capacity to articulate their perspectives,” she said.
More than 100 four- and five-year-olds from around the capital region participated in the project, which only developed into an art exhibit in its later stages. For months, the tots were presented with a series of questions about their communities: What is your favourite place to go? What is your favourite thing to do? What do you think a neighbourhood is? What do you think a community is? What would be your ideal place to live in, and what would be your best day?
The process was fluid and naturally developed into an art project over the course of about six months, Petrini said. It was guided by the Child in the City Project, but conducted at seven preschools, daycares and community centres.
Including kids’ voices in public dialogue about the environments they live in will result in more child-friendly cities, Petrini said.
“Children have the right to be involved in issues that affect them,” she said. “They have the right to have their voices heard.”
Children’s Views of Urban Living opened Thursday and runs through Feb. 3 at the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill. It includes drawings, paintings, photography and mixed-media presentations.
In conjunction with the exhibit, a free family event, Creative Kids Creating Communities, is on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill. Children and their families can explore what’s important to them and their communities through arts and crafts projects.
Activities include building a clay city or tile town, hearing stories about local neighbourhoods and creating maps, designing a community with recycled materials and contributing to a group mural.
The Arts Centre at Cedar Hill is located in the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre at the intersection of Finlayson Street and Cedar Hill Road.
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