Something to Celebrate: Wrapping up at Xpey’

“Use the creative process — singing, writing, art, dance – whatever — to get to know yourself better.” Catie Curtis

We are all in process. This week at Xpey’ has been so much about that process, about finding ourselves through art and collaboration, about discovering the qualities that make each and every one of us a leader. About finding ways to share our stories. Along the way there were successes, re-dos and celebrations. Along the way there was learning, frustration, determination, connection, completion and pride. 

We (and by this, I mean everyone involved) listened to one another each day a little bit more in circle putting into practice some of the lessons brought to us by Elder Amanda. We spoke up more, found words for how we felt, what our experience had been…communicated. We practiced empathy with ourselves and others as we tried new and various artforms and helped each other to shine, gave support and compliments when they were needed and encouraged positive self-talk. We wove, drew, acted, wrote, photographed, sang, danced and took videos of our process and got to know ourselves in different ways, in different roles. We acted together to contribute to, fuse together and complete art that captured some of our collective and individual stories. We made our circle a wider place, spoke out from behind hoodies and sunglasses to state, “I am here. This is me, who I am and where I’m at. This is what I bring today. This is how I feel. This is what I’m dealing with. Here’s how I express it. Here’s what I like and what I don’t like. This is my story. Hear it. Feel it. Speak to it. This is me and here is my art, today, right now in 2022.” As we wrap up, the youth have the experience and much of the process and product to drive forward in whatever way they choose. 

We all got to know one another better. We all expressed ourselves in different ways. We created as individuals and as a community. We learned how what we do and say can have an impact, that we all have voices and how we share them is important. In the lifelong process of successes, re-dos and celebrations, we have achieved something to celebrate. 

Thank you to the administration, teachers, cultural workers and E.As at Xpey’, the youthLEADarts artist educators, the funders and the students for engaging with the creative process and through it, accelerating their own life and leadership skills.