“Making art was a very satisfying job. After a day’s work, you felt you had really made a difference in your own life.”
Last summer, the URB festival began a collaboration with the City of Helsinki to provide summer jobs for young people. The festival hired five youths whose job was to create a production under the guidance of professionals, giving them a taste of
art as a profession.
“It was fabulous and wonderful, I hope I will be able to make art for a living again in the future!”
The project participants did not know each other beforehand and came from very different backgrounds. They all represented their own particular sub-culture, yet being engaged in the same project to produce a joint performance made everybody mutually supportive. The youngsters felt the project had improved their teamwork skills and boosted their self-confidence.
“This was a very different job from others I had done before. I think my social skills and self-knowledge improved during that month more than at any other job that I had undertaken. I also discovered that it’s possible to care about someone you had had no prior connection with, so that you sincerely want the other person to succeed.”
It was an intensive month, with everybody working on weekdays from nine to half past three. The youngsters were surprised at how demanding the project was, but creating the performance was also rewarding.
“Making art was fun, yet tough. It was fun when you weren’t tired and things went smoothly, but if you felt out of sorts and the work did not go well, it could be really frustrating.”
Feedback encouraged Kiasma and the City of Helsinki to continue the collaboration. This summer, too, the urban art festival will employ young people from Helsinki to engage in an art project. This time the project will involve the urban space. The
theme will be Helsinki, the atmosphere in its districts.
I will conduct the project together with dance instructor Heli Keskikallio, whose previous works were inspired by different locales. We will make the young people do exercises involving spatial sites, and gather from them material for the performance. We will explore what Helsinki looks, sounds and feels like, and what kinds of stories inhabit its various districts. We aim to create a performance that uses motion and theatre to depict the variety, rhythm and pulse of the city.
Elina Izarra Ollikainen