AWESOME International Arts Festival has wrapped up for this year after 10 days of creative and arts-driven fun solely for kids.
It's an arts event that does more than just entertain - it directly builds the creative capacity of our children for whatever their future lives hold. I had the chance to speak to CEO Jenny Simpson about how the Festival approaches its audience, and aims to provide children with something more long lasting and valuable than 'just fun' (the video is below, or externally here).
AWESOME is also very collaborative within the Perth arts community - it works alongside a range of other organisation (not all of them in the arts sector), to offer a diversity of activity over its 10 days, and to connect children to these other entities. Holding events in the State Theatre Centre could be the first time that a child (including the very young) experiences one of our city's top arts performance venues. It sets up relationships and foundations on which future engagement with arts or creative activity can grow, and also ensures creativity, curiosity and imagination (and other skills that will become essential to both our and our children's futures, as I discussed recently with Paul Collard) are given the chance to become a central tenet of how our kids see, and engage with, their future worlds.
Several events stood out to me as being particularly, impressive - State Library of WA's "Better Beginnings" book-writing program sees our youngsters writing their own books, which are copied and placed into the Library's collection. Acting as a 'time capsule', it gives kids direct connection with our State Library's connection, a staggeringly impressive resource once you take a look to see what is actually in there. Any reason for kids to visit that in the future is a good one.
Similarly, WA Museum's "Museum of Us" allows kids to put their own 'piece', and its story, into the Museum collection, after being on display in the pop-up museum over the course of the Festival. Submissions over the 10 days of AWESOME are now on display on the WA Museum's website.
There is also the Charter of Children's Rights to Arts and Culture (how awesome is that!) put together by Italy's La Baracca Testoni Ragazzi theatre, and translated into 27 languages. It's now been translated now into Noongar by Coleen Sherratt, recognising Noongar as our first language.
AWESOME CEO Jenny Simpson has a lot to say in our chat about what the Festival offers kids - and what it directly offers to the building of our 'creative capacity' - a future where we can create opportunity, find solutions and respond to challenges of any kind, in a creative, positive manner.
Thanks for reading, and please do 'spread the word', it is a conversation I believe is worth having!