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Richmond youth-led art magazine offers a social activism platform

Local and international youth get their artwork recognized and voice heard
Jessica Huang
Richmond student and resident Jessica Huang created the Work In Progress magazine to give youth a platform to share their creative work while exploring social activism.

Artistic platforms for teens were rare two years ago, so a Richmond Secondary student took it upon herself to create one for youth in B.C. and hopefully around the world.

Jessica Huang, a Grade 12 student, participated in many creative and artistic opportunities throughout her childhood, but she didn’t see many opportunities to share her work.

So, she created one.

Work in Progress is a Richmond-based youth magazine that gives youth a space to explore art and social activism together.

“There is a lot of room for recognition and opportunities where creatives could get together and have this unique space for them to collaborate in,” said Huang.

It became her goal to create a place where teens can share their work and express themselves while advocating for things they want to support.

The title of the magazine, she added, was used as an expression for artists and creators to “embrace imperfection and self-growth.”

“Work in progress” is used to describe work that is incomplete and unrefined and it perfectly describes many people who are trying to further their personal creative passion or other interests, Huang said.

“We want youth creatives to have a chance to be recognized and have their work valued as well as combining their art with their political activism.”

What originally started as a student club for Huang, who was in Grade 10 at the time, has now become a digital platform for youth in B.C. and, on occasion, around the world.

Huang told the Richmond News their magazine prioritizes submissions from youth in high school to those in their early 20s, but they also accept artwork from anyone of any age group and location.

Works have been submitted to the magazine from students in cities across Metro Vancouver and on some occasions internationally such as Singapore and Australia.

Submissions, she said, have to follow a certain theme such as the topic of transformation – their latest issue.

“We believe the theme (of transformation) is something pertinent with the pandemic, but also with general global issues,” said Huang, adding that transformation ties in with personal growth and how people deal with change.

“Students need to be given a chance to voice their support for what they believe in and it’s our mission to make sure they have that opportunity to make their voice heard through the platform we give them.”