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New connections for artists and young people at The Reach

The Young Contemporaries is a program at The Reach focusing on connecting youth to art and local talent. Just launched last week, it will be reaching out to those aged 18-35.

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By Griffy Vigneron (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: September 4, 2013

Abbotsford’s young artists have never been so lucky.

The Reach gallery will be offering young artists space to showcase their skills and network.

The Young Contemporaries is a program at The Reach focusing on connecting youth to art and local talent. Just launched last week, it will be reaching out to those aged 18-35.

“The goal of the program is to sort of create a place or a space [for] … the millennial generation,” Gabe Kirkley, marketing and programming coordinator at The Reach and recent UFV graduate says. “I’ve sort of felt like there wasn’t … a space for us here.”

A big part of the program will be the monthly Art on Tap event, hosted in part by CIVL radio as well as The Reach. A night of beer, wine, and good music, it will be a public event and a great place to mingle or hang out with friends.

“[It’s] for everybody,” Kirkley says enthusiastically. “It’s a concert basically with some cool stuff added on.”

The event will showcase four new artists each month, each a Young Contemporaries member. Artists who are members simply have to submit their work to be shown and it will be.

“Everyone will eventually get to exhibit. We’re open to everything from painting to poetry,” Kirkley says.

Currently the greatest criteria for being featured as a young contemporary is promptness, explains Kirkley. “There is something to be said about the people who are gung-ho and eager!”

In an effort to engage everyone, a leadership team will be chosen of both artists and non-artists.

“I don’t want this to be about me and what I want to do,” Kirkley explains. “I’d love to have artists, but also the people who aren’t artists, there to … say, ‘Well, this is what we’d like.’”

The Young Contemporaries program will also offer free or discounted workshops for young artists and non-artists. An artist of the year award will be given out to one member, with a currently undisclosed prize that will be announced in the spring.

Since launching at the end of last week the program has already attained 20 members.

Membership is $25 per person and pays for itself in five visits to Art on Tap. If you register with friends, the membership cost goes down for everyone.

The next Art on Tap will be held on October 17 at 7 pm with tickets available soon.

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