About the artist: Abel Maxwell
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I am an artist who uses his gift of music (piano, songs, music directing) to entertain, but also to educate, raise self-awareness by connecting people to stories, life lessons and dreams with the main goal to inspire.
What inspired you to pursue a career in the arts?
As enlightening and awakening spirits through inspiration has always been my driving force and soul motivation, music as a form of art enables me to fulfil my purpose and positively impact people’s lives.
What are some recurring themes in your art practice?
Inspiring stories, love, tolerance, cultural barriers, self-acceptance, philanthropy, nature, human existence, making people feel good, social changes and education.
What are your most important influences?
Classical music, jazz, afro-beats music, pop culture and life
What is your experience in art projects engaging social practice?
I started directing gospel choirs as a teenager and I have been using my gift to perform in schools, universities, churches and correctional facilities to inspire people to either praise and rejoice or to educate them. My work as a musician and a singer has contributed a great deal in engaging social change for the better.
What did you gain from your experience?
Personal growth and inspiration for a better future.
How long have you been active in the Ottawa arts community?
Almost six years.
What interested you about working with AOE Arts Council?
The opportunity to make a difference in my community.
About the project
What made you want to participate in Art Place?
It was an opportunity to use my gift of music while giving back to the community.
What inspired you to pursue this project with this community?
The number of young people aspiring to make a difference and not knowing how to do it. Using music is a way to do it.
How would you describe the project you will be working on?
Teaching music, poetry, dance to a group of youth to foster social cohesiveness and tolerance across cultures.
As an artist, what do you hope to get out of this process?
To share my music with other young people of the community who may not have a chance to benefit from an artistic education program in any shape or form.
What do you hope participants will gain from this process?
To explore their gifts or talent and an opportunity to believe in themselves and to raise awareness of the fact that they can keep the circle of giving back.
How do you anticipate this work will have an impact on the community?
This work will definitely have a strong impact on the young people of my community of Orléans as they rarely have a chance to discover their talents by integrating singing, poetry and dance all at the same time. This initiative will create empowerment through creativity and through the artistry of the young people of the community.
How will your project give voice or expression to the social issue(s) you will be exploring?
Through the art of music, it’s very easy to express social issues for their betterment of society. Moreover, the ultimate objective of my project is to bridge the gap existing between young people’s talents and opportunities to express themselves, and to initiate a community dialogue through the arts to improve current social conditions while promoting more dignity and humanity.
How will you know your project is a success?
My project is anchored around answering this need of helping young people to express themselves through arts and not violence. Consequently, by fulfilling this gap and reaching out to young people and by stimulating artistic literacy, I can humbly be confident of my project’s success.
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