Ever wish you could turn back the clock and experience life as a child once more? Unless the fountain of youth springs up in Centennial Square, Greater Victorians will have to settle with a trip to The Arts Centre at Cedar Hill, where an exhibit of children’s art work showcases young perspectives on urban living.
The Child in the City Project was not initially aimed at producing visual art, but when early childhood educators asked four and five year olds for their take on their city, the results were expressed in hundreds of photographs, mapping, clay, painting, drawings, and more interactive projects involving puppets and modelling. Works collected from seven centres across Greater Victoria, as well as three short videos documenting the project, will be on display in the main gallery space at the centre until Feb. 3.
“In the end we had this wide variety of materials and having come from children in such a visual way, it seemed like such a natural fit to exhibit that in the gallery,” said project co-ordinator Gillian Petrini.
The Child in the City Project – supported by PLAY Victoria, United Way Success By 6, Saanich and the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria – had two core objectives: to hear what children have to say about their experience in the city and to inform the community of the findings with the intent of including the voice of children in future planning.
“If we’re building child-friendly cities, we’re really building people-friendly cities,” Petrini said. “We’re creating planning and policies that support local children and their families.”
One of the city’s most notorious architectural items sparked a contribution from Victoria participants, five-year-olds Jaydan and Piers.
“Our project began as Piers took a blue piece of corrugated material to create a road,” said the duo’s early childhood educator Tanya Kuhn. “He bent the material to form a road. Jaydan noted that the road reminded him of the Blue Bridge, and the two boys created a city around it.
“The children focused more on the people and activities in their city. We saw a sense of community and co-operation, and of course a familiar landmark that was visited often by the children and their families.”
In conjunction with the exhibit, families are invited to attend Creative Kids Creating Communities, an opportunity for children to explore what they find most important in their community through activities such as clay building and mapping. The free event is also located at the Arts Centre, 3220 Cedar Hill Rd., on Saturday (Jan. 26) from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.