Story and photo by Meaghan Richens

The Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) held a sticker-making workshop on Nov.23. The free drop-in event included free pizza and gave attendees a chance to turn their original artwork and comics into stickers.

Doug Dumais, OAG educational assistant said this event is part of a series of events the gallery is hosting in conjunction with the OAG’s newly formed youth council, stArtup.

Not only will members of the youth council have mentorship opportunities with gallery staff, but they will also have an opportunity to create their own youth programming Dumais explained.

“The whole reason for the youth council is so that we can have youth-focused programming that’s by youth for youth,” Dumais said.

Dumais said the gallery holds workshops often, once every month or so, but this is the first one that’s targeted towards youth.

“It’s not that the gallery isn’t doing that, we’ve always been really good with all ages programs, it’s just that it’s a hard demographic,” Dumais said. “It’s really just an opportunity to get [youth] engaged in the gallery and transform their creative potential into something that appeals to everyone and that’s successful.”

Ben Jensen, a local artist and illustrator whp helped facilitate the workshop, said this was his first time leading a workshop like this at the OAG.

“I’ve done other things with youth, like earlier this month I was at Oasis Skateboard Factory in Toronto which is an alternative high school for at-risk youth focussing on graffiti art, skateboard branding and silk-screening, stuff like that,” Jensen said.

He said he’s seen events like this benefit youth.

“If an event like this can bring kids in with free pizza and the chance to turn their stuff into stickers, it’d be awesome [for] any kid who wasn’t into art before. . . They’re turning comic strips into stickers here today, so if they can see their piece of art becoming something physical beyond the piece of art itself, it might just inspire kids to see the possibilities,” Jensen said.

University of Ottawa students Elizabeth Shepherd and Melissa Poon said this was their first time at the gallery. Both agreed that the promise of free pizza had lured them in.

Shepherd said she decided to use the opportunity to get ahead on some Christmas shopping and made a sticker for her roommate.

“We get to make stickers!” said Poon. “What else are we going to do on a Wednesday night?”