Vernon art gallery youth ambassador Kristin Burns and curatorial assistant Cyan Kregosky stand with a painting created by young artist Kait Serafin at last year’s Take Part in Street Art.

Vernon art gallery youth ambassador Kristin Burns and curatorial assistant Cyan Kregosky stand with a painting created by young artist Kait Serafin at last year’s Take Part in Street Art.

Youth make their mark through art

Vernon Public Art Gallery to liven up the street and city Parkade with two events.

They say the frontal lobe of the brain, used for such things as emotions and creativity, goes though major changes and development while we are young.

That brain function is a great reason for youth to explore artistic outlets as a way of expressing themselves.

Two events coming up in Vernon over the next two weeks will let them do just that.

The Vernon Public Art Gallery is about to host its second annual Take Part in Street Art, leading up to the third annual Riot on the Roof, a multi-media exploration of arts that is open to everyone, but is aimed directly at young people.

“This is something you’d find in a big city,” said Kristin Burns, a Seaton grad who just finished her bachelor of fine arts degree and is about to enter the masters of fine arts program at UBC Okanagan.

She has been spending most of her summer organizing the events as the youth ambassador at the VPAG, and says both are centered around the youth niche market for people who are interested in all kinds of arts, even if they are not artists themselves.

“We’re trying to put focus on all art,” said the gallery’s curatorial assistant Cyan Kregosky. “If I was a young artist, I would like to go to an event to meet someone into what I want to do and be introduced to new stuff. There’s a whole arena of things to tap into.”

For this year’s Riot on the Roof, taking place Aug. 27, each floor of the Vernon Parkade, located above the art gallery, will be used for aural and visual displays –– a feast for every sense.

“It’s more than just visual art, we will be taking over the whole Parkade with just about everything,” said Burns, who is also publishing the magazine, Riot Summer Art Scene, which will be available at the event.

Live painting demos and pieces created at the Take Part in Street Art event will be shown, along with wearable art (Genesis Tattoo Design and Chatters Hair Salon will feature their latest creations), and sculpture.

Interactive activities will include a car that participants will be able to paint. Budding poets and musicians will be given an outlet to perform in the form of an acoustic lounge “jam tent” located on one of the Parkade’s lower floors.

And poets, musicians, and filmmakers have been booked to share their talents.

“We have a lot of people who took part last year that are interested in coming back,” said Burns, who has been busy booking artists from Kelowna on up.

“We even had some tourists from Alberta who came by last year and we welcome high school students to take a break from the beach to come by and get creative and bring their friends along,” added Kregosky.

In the same vein as last year, there will also be a lot of acts to take in on the top floor of the Parkade.

Burns has booked the Kinshira Fire Troupe, local bands Modern Folk, Paperboy, and Windmills (Cory Myraas),  and Kelowna artist Leila Neverland to perform.

Poetry readings will be given by Jennifer Joan, Kevin McPherson Eckhoff and Jake Kennedy, while films will be shown by Michael V. Smith, Brian Gotro and Denise Kenney.

Due to a lack of funding this year from government coffers, the gallery has had to rely on donations from corporate sponsors, with Sun FM and Wentworth Music coming on board to help, said Kregosky.

“We also have to charge a small admission fee ($5) to give the musicians an honorarium and an incentive to be a part of the event,” she said.

A week before the riot starts, people can literally take part in street art.

In its second year, Take Part in Street Art welcomes everyone of all ages to apply their creative abilities and imagination to four-by-eight canvases provided by the gallery.

Spanning two days, Friday, Aug. 19 from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the works of art will be created with acrylic paint, and finished products will be displayed at Riot on the Roof and then mounted on the side of the Vernon Parkade for the whole community to enjoy.

The event enables the VPAG to provide an arena for freedom of expression that is reflected in these pieces by our community’s young artists. Artists will be encouraged to express their creativity without the constraints of imposed themes or subject matter, said Kregosky.

“Last year’s Take Part in Street Art event was a huge success,” she said. “We had a wide array of different individuals partake in this fun activity. There were people of all walks of life who were of varying age groups and creative ability.”

Participants can either be heavily involved in the event, or just pop in for a few experimental dabs on the canvas, added Burns.

“It’s great to be a part of something new and exciting to the community, and the fact that anyone can join in on this project is amazing,” she said. “Getting people interested in art and involved with art is our main goal for both events, and they add a bit of much needed colour to our concrete Parkade.”

For more information on Take Part in Street Art and the Riot on the Roof, contact Burns at 250-545-3173 or email