McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Ink Movement founder named to Plan Canada's Top 20 Under 20

By Andrew Baulcomb / Daily News
Published: July 6, 2015
Maxwell Tran
"Art can often be a solitary pursuit," offers Maxwell Tran. "It's nice to be around like-minded people, and help facilitate connections between young artists, mentors and community partners. Our end goal is to encourage youth to express themselves and apply the arts as tools for social change."

Maxwell Tran always believed in the power of art to affect social change.

Now he's striving to inspire other young artists to use their talents for good.

The 19-year old Mississauga native was recently named to Plan Canada's Top 20 Under 20 for his efforts to grow and promote  Ink Movement — a non-profit organization that was conceived to empower youth through the arts.

"I was an avid writer in high school, and I noticed right away there aren't the same kind of networking opportunities for youth working in the arts as there are in business and health sciences," says Tran, a third-year student in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program (BHSc) with an interest in researching chronic disease and global health.

"Ink Movement was launched to address that gap."

Founded in 2012, the organization currently boasts 40 active volunteers in Mississauga, along with 30 in Hamilton and 15 in Montreal. The next big move, says Tran, involves an ambitious plan to "scale up" with new chapters on the west coast of Canada, beginning in Vancouver.

Volunteer team members regularly host arts education events for local youth. To date, the Ink Movement has been able to provide experiential programming for more than 600 young people in Ontario and Quebec.

In May, the organization collaborated with regional partners Big Brothers Big Sisters, Seva Food Bank and Our Place Peel (a youth shelter in Mississauga) to host Art & Soul Initiative — a one-day event that saw youth join forces to develop creative materials for non-profit community organizations.

"Art can often be a solitary pursuit," offers Tran. "It's nice to be around like-minded people, and help facilitate connections between young artists, mentors and community partners. Our end goal is to encourage youth to express themselves and apply the arts as tools for social change."

Over the past three years, they've also raised more than $20,000 from various sources to further their efforts, including a recent foray into self-publishing.

Ink Movement has already released two 60-page anthologies featuring a wide variety of young artists from Mississauga, and another volume will be published next month. The inaugural Hamilton edition, slated for a September release, received a $1,500 Forward with Integrity grant to help with publication costs.

Tran aspires to become a clinician-scientist upon graduation from McMaster. He wants to do more writing about pressing health challenges, and explore the potential of art to improve healthcare. He's also committed to growing Ink Movement, and hopes to do a lot more creative writing in the years ahead.

For the time being, at least, it's all about balancing two passions with equal fervor and making a difference wherever possible.


Video: Top20Under20, 2015 — Maxwell Tran

Recognizing that youth have important stories to tell, Maxwell founded Ink Movement in 2012. Ink Movement is a national non-profit organization that empowers youth through the arts and organizes book-publishing projects featuring young writers, photographers, and visual artists.

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