On a breezy summer evening, participants of Arts Milton’s Friendship Project gathered at the Milton Sports Centre park for a picnic celebrating the completion of this year’s program. The Friendship Project, now in its second year, connects newcomers to Canada with community host families. Together the partnered families attend arts and culture activities together from winter to spring each year.

In mid-March all 60 participants were invited to break the ice over an afternoon of classic and modern board games like Snakes n’ Ladders, Monopoly and Quartex. Children and adults alike bonded over advances made in the game of Life, and shared commiseration each time the Jenga tower collapsed. While they played, guests enjoyed local snacks and refreshments.

Arts and culture activities ranged from music lessons at the Milton Academy of Music, and a PC Cooking School class at Real Canadian Superstore, to a Milton Youth Theatre Productions play at the FirstOntario Arts.

Centre Milton. During a Kung Fu class taught by Mark Recile of Shaolin Temple Quanfa Institute Milton, participants witnessed a face-off between instructor and student. At an art workshop facilitated by artist Omar “Oms” Hopkinson, families worked in teams to create bridges, and collaboratively painted a community themed mural. Everyone got their bodies moving in motion during the Bollywood West Dance Studio class as they learned the art of bhangra dancing!

In early spring, a few lucky families found themselves hiking up the Escarpment with Halton Region after learning about and creating their own fossils in plaster. Other participants joined illustrator and author Kenn Flynn for an ancestry workshop. Children aged 6 to 12 interviewed their parents about their journey to Canada and journaled their responses.

The Friendship Project was designed by not-for-profit organization Arts Milton in 2017 as a way of connecting families and introducing newcomers to all of the amazing arts and culture resources Milton has to offer. It also aligns with the group’s mission to “connect artists of all genres and levels of experience with the greater Milton community, in the spirit of facilitating creative expression and cultural enrichment.”

As one participant noted, “It was amazing being a part of this, and it was perfect.”

For more information, or to apply to be a part of The Friendship Project 2020, please visit artsmilton.com or email info@

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