This summer’s winner of the Great Summer Haiku Contest, hosted by ELAN ArtistsInspire online workshop series, is a prime example of the impact and magic that artistic mentorship can have on youth.
Our student winner participated in The Art of Haiku, a two-part online workshop led by award-winning poet Angela Leuck. She credits Angela as being “ the reason I started writing with more dedication.” Their mentor relationship began two years ago during Angela’s ELAN ACE artist residency for five weeks at Netagamiou and Harrington Harbour schools in the Lower North Shore where the student lives. Angela’s teachings have continued to have an impact beyond the initial classroom visits.
In an interview after her Grand Prize win, the student enthused over Angela’s influence, “I did not know what I wanted to do. I was just going with the flow trying to make something out of what I love, and Angela was willing to give me a chance, and for that I am ever so grateful for her.” Under Angela’s mentorship, the student writes haiku and poetry regularly and hopes to continue as a writer, with an aim to “express emotion in its purest form.”
As this student experienced, Angela Leuck leads students to discover the power of haiku: three-line Japanese poems frequently focused on nature, written in a set syllabic meter. Angela also guides making artwork related to haiku, or “Haiga”, using students’ preferred artistic mode – drawing, painting, photography, or found objects from the natural world. Angela’s virtual workshop hosted during ArtistsInspire’s Youth & Family online workshop series also provided participants with the opportunity discover these artforms and share their artistic achievements with a wider audience: in addition to participating in the Great Summer Haiku Contest, ten of the best “Haiga” submitted during Angela’s workshop will be showcased in the first issue of Suncatcher, an upcoming online Haiku Journal for Kids.
In addition to discovering an artform or passion, connecting with Artists such as Angela Leuck in mentor-student relationships helps develop students’ understanding of themselves and the world, take pride in their achievements and find opportunities to further their interests. As our student winner says, “Angela’s visit was the turning point in my life.”
For more information, see Angela Leuck’s artist profile.