Every February, a family-friendly arts festival happens in the winding modernist pathways of the Arts & Culture District on UBC’s Vancouver campus.
Known as Kids Take Over UBC!, the event invites families to celebrate the creative contributions of young people with immersive experiences at various UBC world-class venues, like the Frederic Wood Theatre, Museum of Anthropology, and The School of Music building. For this year’s 4th annual event, the pandemic presented an opportunity for us to reimagine a different way to carry out this fun-filled event.
Great things are often created together! With some magic and the help of website wizards, a special place was created to bring the arts into the homes of children and youths in the community. This new virtual house, perched on top of an old growth tree, became the Kids Take Over UBC! treehouse.
Let’s take a tour of the treehouse with the participants and check out all the wonderous activities they got to do to make their home, where the art is!
On the balcony, we explored the UBC School of Music’s huge collection of percussion instruments, including kettle drums, glockenspiel, and other gadgets. The balcony also extended our exploration onto the UBC Vancouver campus for a few on-site activities, including a “take-over” at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum and an outdoor art walking tour with Contemporary Coast Salish artist, Diamond Point.
Top image: Exploring the exhibits at Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Image: Artist Diamond Point with her work, in front of Belkin Art Gallery
Onwards inside, we were ready to make a mess in the experimental laboratory (some may call it a kitchen). We went wild with colours as we followed Let’s Talk Science UBC ‘s activity about the science of mixing colours together. To wake up the sleepyheads in the house, we found an array of kitchen items and joined School of Music percussion students to bang out a groovy tune. Next, it was time to invent a tasty recipe for UBC Food Services’ Executive Chef David Speight to judge in the Junior MasterChef culinary competition.
Break time is an opportunity to stay active and the living room is the perfect place to play. We busted out our yoga mats and learned about different jumps, rolls, cartwheels and handstands in an introduction to gymnastics class with UBC Active Kids. With more energy than before, we went on a treasure hunt with the Move U Crew from UBC Recreation. To cool-down our bodies and warm-up our voices, we learned American Sign Language to sign the names of animals while singing songs about the environment with musical duo, Beetle Banter.
The bedroom is where we dream, and Carousel Theatre’s AudioPLAY told us the riveting tale of Rishi & D Douen, a Caribbean folklore from their screen-free theatre series. But we couldn’t fall asleep yet, it was time to virtually connect with our friends in the study and take over social media to share what we’ve learned! Just across the hall, the closet transformed into a magical world of puppetry where the award-winning exhibition ‘Shadows, Strings & Other Things’ became real enough to believe.
Finally, up to the attic and the creativity was overflowing! UBC Camps taught us how to make our own comic books, while neighbours from the University Neighbourhood Associations dazzled us with their talents in the Community Art Show. Inspired by expert puppeteer and ventriloquist, Kellie Haines, we created talking puppets out of hats and other ordinary things around the house. Ending on a high note, Physicists from the Department of Physics & Astronomy taught us the physics of sound as we made a tissue box guitar, maracas and more.
We hope all the adults enjoyed having kids take over the home! Thank you to the fourteen UBC departments and community groups for contributing fun-filled activities to make high-quality arts programming accessible to families at UBC and beyond. We look forward to build upon this new Kids Take Over UBC experience and help kids get closer to ruling the world!
See you at the next Kids Take Over UBC! In the meantime, check out the treehouse at kidstakeover.ubc.ca.