What portion of rural youth are engaged in the performing arts? What are their greatest economic and social challenges? Why do rural youth choose to stay rural and pursue a career or volunteer in the performing arts?

When SPARC started planning the Symposium over a year ago we identified that the younger generation living in rural communities play an important role in making rural communities vibrant and resilient places where performing arts are alive. We felt that it was important for youth have a significant role in this event.

Funding announcement from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Province-Wide Program made it possible for SPARC to cover the costs for nominated youth (ages 16-29) to attend the symposium. We were delighted that 25% of our symposium delegates were youth from across the province engaged in the performing arts as creators, presenters, producers and community organizers.

In addition to having youth involved in all aspects of the symposium we also planned a youth program focused on the challenges and successes of youth involved in the performing arts in rural communities.

The purpose of this specific stream was to give youth an opportunity to network, to “take a pulse” of rural communities in which youth are involved in the performing arts and collectively explore their experiences and articulate their particular interests and assets. Take a look at the  Symposium Youth Magazine focusing on the Symposium Youth. Funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation has ensured the ongoing inclusion of youth in the development of the SPARC network.