Young at Art: Ottawa program encourages young artists, keeps community art thriving

Photo: NVAC/Young at Art program

Photo: NVAC/Young at Art program

The future of art in Ottawa is young hands.

Since 1996, the city’s Young at Art program has helped showcase numerous young artists and provides a stepping stone into the world of professional art.

“I’m thrilled at how successful this program is,” says Tina Spencer, arts program administrator for the City of Ottawa. “it’s been so satisfying to see how Young at Art encourages young artists within the community.”

The Young at Art program gives young artists a chance to have their art work displayed in citywide galleries and be juried in by arts professionals. “Having their art hung in a gallery is a real boost for any young artist,” says Spencer.

“And their work is exhibited for an extended period, so they can bring family and friends to see their creations.”

Photo: Nepean Visual Arts Centre/Young at Art program

Photo: Nepean Visual Arts Centre/Young at Art program

This year, participation fees have been eliminated. Young artists can submit their art in two categories: the junior category, for 12- to 15-year-olds, and the senior category, which covers 16- to 19-year-olds.

And Spencer says art teachers at several city schools are invested in the program. “We get a lot of applications from schools,” she says, “and I’ve personally spoken with many art teachers to get feedback for the program.”

Perhaps the best testament to the success of the Young at Art program comes from the young artists themselves.

“Young at Art has provided me with an amazing opportunity to showcase my artwork and introduced me into a world of being a professional artist,” says Haley Sweet, an 18-year-old Earl of March student. “The experience so far has been a great one.”

Spencer is delighted that the program is keeping art alive in the community for future artists, either as a hobby or a profession.

Young at Art exhibitions and vernissages take place at three galleries across the city from April 20 to May 15, so there will be plenty of opportunities to see the artwork.

And the Young at Art Awards Ceremony takes place on May 4, 2017, when many city and sponsor awards will be presented. You can find exhibition dates, and young artists can find out how to apply, at

“Come out and view the art,” says Spencer. “You’ll be impressed by the talent and vitality of these young artists.”

This story was produced by Ottawa Parenting Times Magazine on behalf of Nepean Visual Arts Centre for commercial purposes.