Young At Art


Young At Art began in 1996 as a juried art show for young people 13 to 19 years old who lived or went to school in the City of Kanata. It now covers the new City of Ottawa. The idea for such a show was generated by a young high school student who expressed the wish to have a place for youth to display their artwork.

Susan Goold and Catherine Edmonds, both professional artists and Beth Mlacak, community member, served on the Board of Directors of the Kanata Civic Art Gallery at the time. They agreed that the Gallery should sponsor an outreach program and host a juried show of original artwork for young people. From its inception the project had the enthusiastic support of Kanata's Mayor and Council, Parks and Recreation Staff, the Regional Councillor and local artist Ben Babelowsky.

The Founding Committee of Susan Goold, Catherine Edmonds Hunt and Beth Mlacak developed an application form, cover letter and a series of guidelines for the applicants. The guidelines included eligibility, type of media, originality, standards of presentation and an entry fee. They also arranged for the work to be juried by professional artists.

Originally the project was funded by the participants' application fee and donated awards. Young At Art was then sponsored by the Kinsmen Club of Kanata West Carleton and the Kinettes came on board for several years to provide refreshments for the reception and awards presentation evening.

Young At Art had to be marketed to the young people and to the art departments of all public and private schools in the area. Schools were visited, articles were written for the local papers and a cover letter from the Mayor was included in the application package.

The Founding Committee organized acceptance of the work, the jury process, the selection of awards and gave each entrant a written critique of his/her work. The art was hung in the Gallery and all the paintings and sculptures were labeled with titles, media, name of entrant, school, grade and, if applicable, award/s. Donated flowers and plants were placed in the Gallery for a festive look.

A Gala Reception was organized to showcase the event and to present awards and medals. Each artist received a certificate of participation. About 200 people attend this reception each year. The Committee advised the media of the opening and over the years Young At Art has received extensive newspaper and television coverage.

For the millennium year 2000, the Committee decided to hire a professional artist/juror from outside Kanata. They also applied to exhibit Young At Art in the former Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Gallery and their submission was accepted. That year a Young At Art website was developed and was included within the City of Kanata website. The Best in Show award-winning painting was featured on the City of Kanata’s home page.

Young At Art was run using the same standards as for an adult juried show. For the students it was a learning experience to participate in this type of show. They learned to submit an application, to prepare work for a show, and to meet deadlines. The show stimulated their artistic motivation. For many of them this was the first time that they had received this type of recognition for their creative work. Some have since gone on to higher education in the arts.

The community enjoyed seeing the current work of artists and some of them have even donated awards for work that they especially enjoyed. The Committee had the privilege of fulfilling a dream and, in the process, brought recognition to the creativity of over 300 talented young people. It was exciting to learn about them and where they hope to be in the future.

What started as a local, Kanata based initiative has expended to the new City of Ottawa, and to this day remains the only well-established show of its kind for young people in the City.


Visit the City of Ottawa’s, Young at Art page for more information, &

check out some photos from previous years.

The Genesis of Young At Art

Young at Art is an annual, juried art exhibition that brings the work of young visual artists to local art galleries across the City of Ottawa. The exhibition, held annually since 1997, represents a tremendous opportunity for the public exhibition and recognition of the creative efforts of these young local artists.

Creators of accepted works will have their pieces displayed in a community gallery – often near where they live – and are eligible for a number of prizes and awards contributed by the City of Ottawa and Young at Art Sponsors.