Sofia’s pitch for pop-up art van

St John Fisher College
Sofia Velkos receives a certificate of appreciation from Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk for her work on the Youth Advisory Council

ST John Fisher College, Bracken Ridge, student, Sofia Velkos, had more on her mind than holidays as she prepared for a big pitch for a small van to Brisbane City Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.

Sofia was one of 80 Brisbane Year 10 students selected to sit on the Lord Mayor's Youth Advisory Council (LMYAC) who met with the Lord Mayor once a term to act as a voice for Brisbane's youth.

As part of the youth council they identified issues, provided feedback and voiced their opinion on Brisbane City Council policies, local laws, services and programs that affected young people.

Sofia and a team of 10 LMYAC students, including Oliver Horwood from St Joseph's Nudgee College and Thomas Darben from St Patrick's College, came up with the idea to help increase Brisbane's creativity and vibrancy through the use of a mobile “Pop-Up" art van.

Sofia said the plan was for the van to travel to identified areas within Queensland, enabling children and young teens to participate in drawing, painting and other forms of art, using supplies they may not had previously had access to.

“Our aim is to increase the sense of community and inclusivity within Brisbane through art," Sofia said.

Oliver said the idea came from a project the council currently funded called, Visible Ink, in Fortitude Valley, which was a free art space with art supplies and resources.

“We've been there for meetings and seen people using it, but we felt like more people would use it if they knew about it. And so, came the idea of setting up the mobile art space we proposed to council," said Oliver. 

Sofia, along with one other excited student pitched the mobile pop-up van idea to Lord mayor Quirk, on behalf of 80 youth delegates.

She said she was excited at the prospect of the idea coming to fruition.

“It feels amazing to know that extremely important people like the Honourable Lord Mayor Graham Quirk are asking the youth and future generation of Brisbane for their opinion on current issues that are prevalent within society," Sofia said.

Sofia said discussions had been raised surrounding the vibrancy and creativity of the city, as well as its environmental friendliness.

Methods of improving transport, technology, business, the economy, and lastly health, within the Brisbane region were also major touch points.

“It's honestly so rewarding to be a part of the LMYAC group as we provide a voice for the issues and problems that we as individuals and as society, are currently facing," Sofia said.

“Knowing that these issues can be fixed and changed for the better through the help and assistance of the Brisbane City Council is a real thrill," she said. ​

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