Amplify started in 2012, when City Council approved the development of an arts festival specifically targeted at young residents. The task of bringing this dream to life was left in the hands of, what was then called, the Cultural Services Department. 

Staff quickly assembled a youth advisory committee: not only to advise on the artistic needs of youth, but to also actively participate in the marketing, programming and execution of the youth festival. This steering committee would go on to provide leadership opportunities for youth in St. Albert, allowing youth both the right to have real input into shaping their community and the responsibility to do the work to accomplish their vision. The first advisory committee was assembled in 2013 and the first decisions they had was a name for the event: “St. Albert Amplify Festival” was born. 

Working within the 40 Developmental Asset framework, in 2014, we hosted the inaugural festival in the Enjoy Centre’s beautiful Moonflower Room. The first event followed a two-day festival format, which featured barrier free drop-in activities, creative workshops and both performance and presentation opportunities for young artists.  The two-days wrapped on Saturday with a spectacular performance from Virginia to Vegas.   

However, after that first event, staff and the Committee quickly realized not all the goals of the program and the activities imagined by the Committee where best accomplished in the festival-format. While the festival was fun and exciting, some skills just couldn’t be developed in two-days.  

As a result, we started to experiment with programming outside of the two-day festival, which lead to the creation of the Amplify Creative Youth Development Program. Over the last seven years, Amplify has grown into a year-round arts and leadership development program, molding our community into an increasingly vibrant, increasingly youth-focused and increasingly creative City.  

Since 2014, we’ve  

  • hosted seven festivals (one of which was virtual thanks to Covid-19)
  • hosted five Amplifying Ideas, which is our “Ted-Talk” night where youth share ideas and inspiration about the most pressing concerns of their generation, 
  • hosted three evening art walks, which we call Illuminate: Enlighten the Night. It’s a night of twinkling lights as we invite residents to stroll through Kingswood Park enjoying music, an art battle, a photo exhibit and more. 
  • hosted a Fashion Show with the help of Walk the Talk, featuring young designers, make-up artists and models, 
  • created and published one anthology of youth art, a copy of which resides in the Library and Archives of Canada 
  • hosted a Film Festival 
  • hosted jam-packed Open Mics and acoustic concerts 
  • Hosted one very Amplify Christmas Concert at the Snowflake Festival 
  • And so much more! 

In 2021, in the face of Covid-19 and the gathering and financial restrictions the pandemic as ushered in, we were asked to keep the spirit of Amplify alive through our year-around programs and activities, working on a cost-recovery basis. Though fundraising, grant applications and sponsorship, our goal is to continue to provide creative youth-development programming through the Cultural Services branch of the Community Services Department, led by the ideas, passion and hard work of the Amplify Advisory Committee.  

Last edited: December 14, 2020