Edmonton woman helping to highlight young, vulnerable artists

An Edmonton woman is opening doors for vulnerable, young artists after experiencing a difficult childhood of her own.

Tucked inside Block 1912, Kai-Lee Worsley has created a space dedicated to highlighting and selling art created by kids facing challenges at home.

Worsley said the project is something she wishes she had access to as a kid.

Read more: Edmonton teen shares love of art with neighbourhood

“My mom is a single mom. My dad was a drug user. I never grew up with materialistic things so I had to tap into my artistic side. I became very creative,” Worsley said Monday.

“Making something was my way of escaping the realities that I faced that were very harsh.”

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She approached the owner of the café, Ruby Kaur, about a local youth art wall that would share their stories alongside their art.

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“Block 1912 has always supported local artists. We put up new art every month. Now we are supporting the youth,” Kaur said.

“Kai-Lee’s idea was so wonderful. I always want to help our community.”

Worsley, who works as the café’s social media manager, said showing young artists their work has value can make a big impact in their lives.

“It’s a really good way for them to build confidence and I think it’s important for Edmontonians to get involved and show their support for these kids,” said Worsley.

The project launched on July 9. So far, there are four artists featured in the café. Kaur said she hopes the space grows to fill the whole building.

Youth art featured at Block 1912
Youth art featured at Block 1912. Morgan Black/Global News

“I reached out to the kids I knew in my neighbourhood. They have a lot of talent, and I knew I could help them,” Worsley said.

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“The money will go back to the artists and give them something to look forward to. This is what I wish someone had done for me. If young Kai-Lee could see this space, she would feel safe and confident and like she could do whatever she wanted.”

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“This is how they share their emotions. This is how they share their feelings. I think it will be a great help,” Kaur said.

Block 1912 is hoping more young artists will be able to be showcased in the weeks to come.

“Tell us a story about you, what you’ve been through and how art has become an important part of your life. We want to share your story,” Worsley said.

If you’d like to nominate a youth, click here.

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