NSCAD’s Art Factory for Phoenix Youth

A letter from Phoenix Youth on NSCAD’s Art Factory

October 30, 2017
NSCAD University
School of Extended Studies

NSCAD Art Factory

This letter is to express Phoenix Youth Programs’ profound appreciation to the NSCAD University School of Extended Studies and its efforts and commitment in offeringthe “NSCAD Art Factory” project to Phoenix youth.

For more than a year, Phoenix Youth Programs has been working in partnership with NSCAD University on the successful completion of two NSCAD Art Factory pilot projects. These pilot projects gave our youth an opportunity to explore different art mediums, learn new skills in a space that is safe, inviting, supportive and
creative, and be artists in their own right.

NSCAD Art Factory is an example of true artistic and leadership development opportunities for youth within a community partnership model. Throughout the two pilot projects in 2017, sixteen (16) youth participants learned about what NSCAD University has to offer, were exposed to and experimented with 8 different art mediums at each NSCAD campus, and two Phoenix youth participants have plans to enroll as NSCAD students
in January 2018.

Some examples of the skills our youth have gained through this program include: confidence-building, hand-on
learning, feeling comfortable in an art studio setting, teamwork, consistent attendance, trial and error, taking
risks, tech program application and innovation through design. The feedback from youth in each pilot has been
overwhelmingly positive, with requests for longer sessions, more one-on-one time with NSCAD student facilitators, and exploring more art mediums.

Leesa Hamilton and Catherine Allen have been phenomenal partnering colleagues through out the program’s development and implementation, and we very much appreciate their energy, enthusiasm and support for the NSCAD Art Factory and Phoenix youth.

NSCAD Art Factory is an excellent initiative in support of youth development, enhancing self-esteem and developing skills that can be directly applied to future education and career goals. Phoenix Youth Programs
is hopeful and excited at the opportunity to partner with the NSCAD University once again to offer the NSCAD
Art Factory program to more Phoenix youth in 2018!

With sincere appreciation and thanks,

Christine Hall, Director of Community Programs
Lauren Abbott, SPIN Coordinator
Phoenix Youth Programs

Learning NSCAd

NSCAD student lead ceramics class

The NSCAD Art Factory was a pilot project developed by Leesa Hamilton, Education and Community Outreach Consultant and Catherine Allen, Program Coordinator NSCAD’s School of Extended Studies, in partnership with Phoenix Youth Programs. The Art Factory program provided senior level NSCAD students with employment, training and support in workshop development and delivery. In 2017, we were able to offer a two pilot programs, each program consisted of a series of weekly, hands on workshops for Phoenix Participants. These pilots employed and trained 13 NSCAD students and offered education and studio access to 16 participants from the Phoenix Youth programs. The Art Factory was designed to further develop the participant’s art making practices and demonstrate the opportunities available at NSCAD University.

The Art Factory opened NSCAD’s professional art studios to a wider community of people, expanding the possibilities of art making. Art Factory I had participants working in the jewellery studio, 3D printing as well as in the ceramics department. The second pilot project focused on creating textiles through dyeing and printmaking processes and then working in the fashion studio to develop constructed products and wearable garments. The six-week program culminated in a formal exhibition and graduation ceremony at the NSCAD Port Loggia Gallery which had approximately 80 attendees from the community.



“I feel like I entered a whole new world”

“I never thought I could do this…the staff made me feel like one of their own”

“Art factory gave me the confidence to be open minded to feedback of my work”

“Art factory helped me take new risks and try new things that I usually don’t do”


We need your support in order to continue the Art Factory, mentoring NSCAD students in workshop development and delivery, offering valuable employment skills. In addition, this program is dedicated to supporting youth development, enhancing self-esteem and developing skills through art making that can be directly applied to their future education and career goals.

 You can donate to this amazing program by selecting, ‘Annual Fund: NSCAD Art Factory’ (the first option) HERE. Your donation, large or small, will make a world of difference.

Leesa Hamilton has a BA from Dalhousie University and a Masters in Education from OISE/University of Toronto. She has over 15 years, experience developing and delivering arts based programming in both Toronto and in Halifax, with a focus on working with homeless and street involved youth. In addition, Leesa is an accomplished Costume Designer who has taught at both NSCAD in the Textiles Department and Dalhousie University’s, Costume Studies Program. Leesa is committed to increasing access to education, training and employment for youth. She believes that at its core art making is about self-expression, risk and reward and its practice can lead to positive personal change and increased resiliency.

Catherine Allen has a BSc from Dalhousie University and an MFA from NSCAD University. She has been working in arts education and programming for over 17 years, She has taught both community arts courses as well as University level jewellery courses at OCAD (Toronto, ON) and at NSCAD University. For the past five years she has been as the Program coordinator at NSCAD University’s School of Extended Studies offering courses in all mediums to the public. She is passionate about the transformative experience of art and making. At Extended Studies she endeavours to make Art accessible through outreach and innovation. Community also plays a significant roll in her personal art practice where she is currently working on a collection of jewellery based on children’s drawings of themselves and their families.


Catherine Allen
Program Manager
School of Extended Studies
NSCAD University