4th Wall: Justice, Art & Youth
When the time comes to address issues related to justice, youth often have many ideas, have relevant experience and are able to demonstrate creativity. This, however, is largely unknown to their peers or to the broader public. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Michaëlle Jean Foundation are offering a new way to give greater visibility to this creative activism.
The 4th Wall project aims to give visibility to the often invisible experiences, ideas, dynamism and creativity of young people who were given opportunities to express their thoughts about restorative justice, public safety, rehabilitation and incarceration using art. An open call for youth, ages 15 – 30, to contribute to the exhibition 4th Wall: Justice, Art & Youth, was hosted by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in partnership with the Michaelle Jean Foundation from September 2014 through January 2015. The exhibition, associated public discussions, and programs all set the stage to further activate the transformative power of art in our community.
The 4th Wall justice project is continuing into the next phase beginning with a solidarity justice triptych designed as a community outreach art project on exhibit throughout the summer of 2015. Youth from Herring Cove Jr. High, Madeline Symonds Middle School, Oxford School, J.L.Ilsley High, Halifax West, Phoenix Youth Program, and IWK Choices program participated in the art project. The partnership involved the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and ArtsExpress of the Halifax Regional School Board with additional funding support from the Lighthouses Grant: Department of Justice, ‘Youth on the Radar’ Program.
An upcoming 4th Wall: Justice, Art & Youth exhibition is planned for the spring of 2016.
About the 4th Wall: Make the Invisible Visible Program
In theatre, the “fourth wall” is an imaginary screen that creates a virtual separation between actor and spectator, and, by extension, it is an unperceivable wall that envelopes the excluded and renders them socially invisible. The Michaëlle Jean Foundation is mandated to help youth facing exclusion to better their situation by using the arts to cross through the wall of invisibility, to transform their pain and anger into creation, and to make a place for themselves in their community and consequently to help transform that community, which often faces difficulties and is at-risk. That is why the Michaëlle Jean Foundation created the 4th Wall: Make the Invisible Visible program inviting museums and art galleries across the country to participate and collaborate. The 4th Wall is a wonderful way to open the doors of our major cultural institutions to emerging creators from marginalized backgrounds, to enable the public to discover extraordinary, talented youth, and to break down the walls of exclusion by promoting dialogue and seeking peaceful and community-based solutions.