Published on August 13, 2021
Illuminate Shines a Light on Local Talent
Twinkling lights entwined in the dense green of late summer trees, lightening a path through a park filled with unexpected art. That was the original vision for Illuminate – Enlighten the Night.
From musicians tucked into gazebos, to a photo exhibit balanced on branches, to a glowing path leading through the woods to a poetry nook, four years ago the Amplify Advisory Committee—a student-led group focusing on youth arts development—dreamed up a night where they could introduce St. Albert’s residents to the young and emerging talent thriving in our City. All for free.
Among the 20 Amplify Committee members organizing the multi-faceted event is Ange Moulaison-Doucette. It’s Moulaison-Doucette's fifth year with Amplify and her third year organizing Illuminate’s photo exhibit. She sees her role managing the exhibit as a way to ‘pay-forward’ the opportunities Amplify provided when she was younger.
“I got into photography because of Amplify,” she explains. “I firmly believe that if it hadn’t been for Amplify, I would not be taking pictures now. The first year I was with the festival I took pictures and then Amplify posted them online. I thought it was so cool. To have gone through that and to see where it’s brought me now—to have those types of opportunities—I wanted to give that back to young artists.
“It always gets me when the younger ones, who are 12 or 13, are so excited because it’s the first time ever showing their art. They bring their whole family and at the end of the night they get their print—they just think it is the coolest thing. I remember being like that too, when Amplify did that for me. That’s a big reason why I love organizing the exhibit.”
Commandeering Kingswood Park on August 21, Illuminate has now become Amplify’s biggest summer event. Featuring the above-mentioned photo exhibit, buskers, sophisticated chalk art, spoken word poetry and more, it’s the Committee’s version of an art walk. One where those out for a stroll will stumble upon some art in the woods and walk away surprised, delighted and, hopefully, enlightened about some of the blossoming young talent we have in the city. And according to Moulaison-Doucette, the opportunity for young artists to share their art with an audience cannot be undervalued.
“Probably the most daunting part of being an artist, in general, is sharing these things that you’re vulnerable about or that you’ve worked so hard on that you’ve never showed anyone before,” she says. “And especially when you’re starting out, at 12 years-old—that’s terrifying.
“To simplify the process, to make it so accessible to youth and to show the artists starting out that there’s a whole community of young artists who are just starting out—so introducing them to this incredibly supportive community where they can share what they create and express themselves. I just think that’s so important.”
One of the highlights of the evening is the Art Battle. An up-and-coming trend in visual art, art battles add a high-speed aspect to painting usually left to sport. In Illuminate’s version, there are three bouts where painters are given 30-minutes to create a work of art, which is then voted on by the audience. A winner is crowded in a final round, where the top artists from the previous rounds paint-it-out.
While Amplify’s goal is to spotlight artists, behind the scenes, the program is focused on leadership. Each aspect of Illuminate is organized by a different Committee member, while roles like social media coordination, photography, and videography fall to Committee members as well.
“Through Amplify, I was able to grow so much,” says Moulaison-Doucette, reflecting on her first days with Amplify. “I went from showing up to meetings, not talking, to organizing concerts. Not only do you get to be on the Committee and organize all these really awesome experiences for youth, but then, outside of that, you also can get incredible experience and become so much more confident in everything you do.”
For this Saturday, Moulaison-Doucette is focused on sharing her positive experiences with her community.
“Anyone who is attending the event, I hope they can see the value of all of these young creators and what they do,” she finishes. “I hope they see how awesome of a community we have here and how crucial of an initiative creating opportunities for youth artists is.”
Amplify’s Illuminate 2021 is taking place this Saturday, August 21 at Kingswood Park from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit amplifystalbert.ca.
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Last edited: September 1, 2021