The FASM Youth Visual Arts Mentoring Project entitled ‘The Nature of Gen Z’ reception on March 12th at the Holcim Gallery FirstOntario Arts Centre offered a glimpse into the youthful artistic talent that makes up the Milton community. The youth mentoring project is celebrating its fifth year and FASM is gratified to see the level of participation and interest that young artists have shown.

Twenty fledgling artists, aged 13 to 17 from junior to senior high schools, participated in the show after a series of 6 weekend sessions working with artist/ mentors from Milton and environs including Joan Hatten, Carolyn Charbonneau, Julia Bond, Jenny Panda, Linda Ross-Gallagher, Ursula McDermid and Helen Lennon. Besides the influx of young artists new to the program, there was a number of students returning from previous years who were looking to build on their acquired skills.

The results were impressive as students learned techniques in acrylic painting, watercolour, ink drawings, mixed media, photography and 3-dimensional work that impressed the opening night crowd including parents, grandparents, friends and art lovers. Mayor Gord Krantz delivered greetings on behalf of the Town of Milton and posed for a ‘capture the moment’ group photo to mark the occasion.

The mentorship program owes its success to FASM Youth Coordinator, Nadia Ramnarine, who was recognized by FASM Past-president, Ursula McDermid, during her opening remarks. “It was Nadia’s first year taking on this project but I gave it to her and she just ran with it to great success!”

The art presented at the show was as individual as the artists themselves. Amelia Smith’s artwork entitled “Bubblegum Beach” was rendered in a peachy-pink that she was eager to try.

“I’ve always been interested in art and this was the first acrylic painting I’ve ever done so I was just thrown into it. The mentors where there to guide me like suggesting how to do the calm waters and the crazy waves! They encouraged me to make it my own.” Amelia, who is entering Grade 11, plans to take more school art programs to further her skills and sees art as being a part of her future. Claire Sadgrove, who is in grade 8, has always liked doing watercolours and wanted to learn more from mentor and artist, Joan Hatten. Regarding her artwork ‘One’, Claire commented that “Joan taught me a lot of different techniques to give it more realism.” Claire is considering a career in graphic design.

Spencer Rusk is in 10th grade and marks his second year in the FASM Youth Mentoring project. His art included three pieces, ‘Best Friends’ in pencil as well as ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Mustang’ both done in acrylic.

“I really enjoyed participating in the program last year and found it opened a lot of doors for me in what I can achieve artistically. When I see what I did this year to last year, there’s just no comparison. All the mentors helped in their own ways, and I learned from each one.” Spencer added that his experiences helped him decide that his future ambitions will definitely include something artsy!

Jayna Bond is an aspiring photographer who appreciates the tips she picked up during the program about using her camera to its full potential. Currently, Jayna sees her future role of providing a unique view to others, “who can’t go where I can, so I just want to be able to take photos of places that I can get to and to show people what it’s like.” Ursula McDermid adds, “We are really proud of our Youth Visual Arts Mentoring Program. Over the last 5 years, over 150 budding artists have been matched with our talented artists. Judging by the unique and skillfully rendered artistic works on display, it looks like Gen Z represents a wealth of talent and dedication that bodes well for their artistic futures.”

FASM is looking for new home

Those who visit the Milton Mall may have noticed that the FASM Gallery is no longer part of the mall landscape. FASM has been grateful for the mall’s providing space over the years as it became available. However, the mall is being re-configured and, unfortunately for FASM, the mall no longer is donating a location for the volunteerdriven organization.

FASM has always been committed and active in bringing art into the Milton community by creating collaborative artworks including the Pan-Am mural in the Mattamy National Cycling Centre Velodrome and a 33 ft. long mural that graces the foyer of the Milton District Hospital, welcoming the public. The FASM Board of Directors has launched a task force that is right now investigating options to establish a new location in Milton where artists and the public can come together to continue to be a vital cultural and educational hub for our community. FASM is also open to suggestions and support from the public around available space that has potential. Ursula McDermid, FASM Past-president, welcomes your thoughts, comments, and suggestions at

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