Facilitating Youth Discussions on "Being the Change" with Art




St. Paul, MN (March 5, 2015) – In conjunction with youthrive’s Nobel Peace Prize Youth Festival on March 6, 2015, artists from COMPAS will lead students in grades 6 to 12 in service-learning arts projects to create writings and murals that represent participants’ ideas on “Being the Change.”

By creating art, the youth will learn to use forms of creative expression that allow them to share their knowledge and ideas about peace-building and community action in ways that are compelling and invite others into the discussion. After the Festival, these newly created works will be shared with the larger community at a variety of events.

1,200 middle and high school youth and their teachers/adults advisors representing diverse socio-economic and cultural profiles are expected at this year’s Festival. The Festival features Nobel Peace Prize Laureates President Jimmy Carter and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It will be held on the Augsberg College campus in Minneapolis.

During small group sessions COMPAS artists will engage youth in projects that help them learn how to use their creativity to affect change locally and globally. The practice of the arts provides organic opportunities for talking, working and building relationships.

Frank Sentwali, COMPAS spoken word artist, will lead teens in writing about “Being the Change” with a focus on having young people examine police/urban youth relations, the growing diversity in neighborhoods and their connection with juvenile behavior. He is excited to work with this group of young leaders. As he says, “My whole life as a teaching artist is about embodying change – making a difference in the lives of the students and kids through my art form – so they can learn to use creative expression to motivate change.” Post-event the youth will join Master Classes to gain a deeper experience with the artist and present their work at community events.

Katrina Knutson, COMPAS visual artist specializing in Street Art, will lead youth to paint on the same topic – with the idea of the murals representing the topic visually and the spoken word pieces reflecting the topic in writing and through performance.  Post-event the murals will be used at schools and events to represent participant ideas. Heidi Jueb, COMPAS bookmaker and visual artist, will document the festival through visual journaling on large scale wood boards. Post-event the final piece will be shared with participants.

Beyond the Festival, Witt Siasoco, COMPAS visual artist and youth leader, will serve as Artist-in-Residence for the next 9 months. He will work with youthrive’s Youth Leadership Team as they explore how to creatively promote engaged youth leaders in positive community change. A youth acting troupe will also be formed after the festival to work with COMPAS playwright, Eric Sharp. Together they will develop performances that convey the principles of “Being the Change” and share them at community events. 

The Nobel Peace Prize Youth Festival is a continuation of a shared tradition between The Nobel Peace Prize Forum and youthrive of inspiring young people -- through direct interaction with Nobel Peace Prize laureates -- to take action locally and globally.

For over 40 years COMPAS has inspired Minnesotans to develop their creative selves; take risks; try something new; learn and grow. They are experienced innovators in creative, art-filled learning for people of all ages, and have been cited for excellence by the Presidential Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the MN Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts and others. COMPAS brings high-caliber, practicing artists into communities such as this festivals, classrooms, libraries, shelters, hospitals, and other community centers to lead award-winning programs that embrace a wide range of people in art-creation experiences. The 100+ artists and ensembles on the COMPAS roster hail from over 40 different ethnic backgrounds and work in a variety of literary, musical, visual and performing art genres.

More information on the Peace Prize Youth Festival can be found at www.youthrive.net/nobel-peace-prize-youth-festival.html

More information on COMPAS can be found at www.compas.org


Joan Linck, COMPAS Development and Marketing Manager

joan@compas.org  | 651-292-3203