Outreach Programs


In the last few years, we have partnered with like-minded youth and community organizations to develop confidence, lifelong learning skills, an appreciation for the value in giving back to the community and increased potential for employment in our communities – outside of the Downtown core. Programs have been found at:

IWK’s Adolescent Intensive Services and Garron Centre in Halifax
Highfield Park Community Centre in Dartmouth North
Demetreous Lane Community Centre
Community YMCA in North End Halifax
East Dartmouth Community Centre in Dartmouth East
East Preston Family Resource Centre in East Preston
Hope Blooms in Halifax
Youth Health Centres within high schools across the HRM
YMCA Centre for Immigrant Programs of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth
Portapique Community Hall / Bass River Fire Hall

“The art space has become an environment that not only supports youth in art experiences it has also become an environment where youth take risk in expressing their true selves. Over the past year I’ve seen youth transform their thoughts and feelings in creative and eye-opening pieces. Youth have used mediums such as drawing, painting, clay work, collage, print-making and more as a way to voice their needs without saying a word. The art room is safe space, judgement free, where teens are encouraged to let down their walls and be gentle with themselves. Many teens have sought out this space when they’ve needed a quiet, soothing moment.”

Recreation Therapist Assistant, IWK - Concurrent Programming
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Community consultation is at the core of outreach programs. When an organization or individual identifies a need in their community for access to free creative and musical programs, the MacPhee Centre leads from behind in providing purposeful programming to youth who have barriers to accessing their creativity or are disengaged from traditional education. We work collaboratively to create a world-class space by inserting place-making essentials such as: live plants, bright and vibrant art work, and collective community standards, all to ensure folks feel like they are welcome, belong, and can be themselves. Most importantly: so they can create.

While creative programs are at the core of what we do, we recognize that they are the vehicle for social inclusion, supporting one’s mental wellness, and act as an opportunity for people to articulate their thoughts or feelings without words.

We encourage this type of understanding through programming elements such as a check-in – where participants can share how are feeling on a particular day if they choose to, creating a set of community standards which allows youth to express what they need to feel safe in the space, and co-creating program schedules, giving youth the power of choice to decide what they want to do.

When working collaboratively outside of the Downtown Dartmouth location, the MacPhee Centre works to implement one of two program styles: Collaborative Community Work and MacPhee Centre in Community Programs.

“MacPhee’s approach is removing and breaking down those boundaries so youth can have access to this program, at the Centre, but also in their communities. Arts and music help youth express, interact, and navigate their ever-changing world. They need it, and deserve to have access to it.”

Kayla Bernard, Facilitaor & Youth Engagement Specialist at Heartwood

Collaborative Community Work

When it comes to collaborative community work, we recognize that not all communities need the same type of programming that is typically offered here in Downtown Dartmouth. So, what does this mean?

Programs can be a little more flexible, in that they are not required to be accessed by youth 12-19. They also tend to take more of a drop-in style, and are an opportunity for youth to try a variety of mediums such as: painting, drawing, clay modelling, creative writing, breaking, and more! We’ll work alongside the youth and leaders in the space to connect them with the art forms they are eager to try. Our commitment to being youth-led and youth-driven carries on outside of the MacPhee Centre too!

MacPhee Centre in Community Programs

These programs might look a little more structured, and can operate similarly to programs found at the MacPhee Centre. Programs will continue to follow the same models that include check-ins and community standards, but might also have a program term that follows along with a deeper understanding of one art form. This could be a 6-week exploration into painting, perhaps 4-weeks of understanding different creative writing techniques, or maybe a 5-week photography program where youth can develop their own styles.

“Art helps me visualize my challenges and thoughts without needing to speak about them.

It’s hard to speak about stuff sometimes”

Youth, AIS

Who we work with

As previously mentioned, our programs can be found throughout HRM – and we often partner with local organizations in bringing creative programs to youth outside of the Downtown Core. Some of those folks include:

Business is Jammin’

Business is Jammin’ focuses on motivating and empowering Black and racially visible minority youth and stressing the importance of education and personal development in everything they do. We have worked with Business is Jammin’ in the past to facilitate collaborative community art projects for Black and African Nova Scotian youth – most recently, through supporting various creative pop-up programs during the Summer 2021 and the Community Youth Art Project in October 2020.

To learn more about this project, take a look at Issue 72 of Black to Business – a magazine put out by the Black Business Initiative quarterly, here!

Community YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth

The Community YMCA is more than just a building; it’s truly the centre of community. Located in the heart of Halifax’s North-End , the Community YMCA engages and positively impacts hundreds of children, youth and families. It’s where youth go to learn new skills, socialize with peers, and participate in meaningful activities that contribute to lasting personal and social change. Check out the Community Y schedule for when we are offering programs together!

The Demetreous Lane Tenants Association

The Demetreous Lane Tenants Association is an entirely volunteer organization which with the support of HRM police and various community volunteers respond to the needs of the Demetreous Lane Community. Varying from year-long weekly programming and Summer Camp support, check out to see when we are offering programs together next!

The Den Youth Centre

The Den Youth Centre is a safe and inclusive space for youth located in the lower level (right side entrance) of the Acadian Centre at 636 Sackville Drive.  If you live and hang out in Sackville, Beaver Bank, Lucasville, Fall River, Bedford, and surrounding areas and are between 13-18, drop in on your own or bring some friends along! Check The Den’s schedule for when we are offering programs together!

East Preston Family Resource Centre

Operating under the umbrella of the East Preston Day Care Centre, the Family Resource Centre is run out of a different building, just down the street. We have been offering programs in partnership with the community leaders in East Preston since 2019. The East Preston Family Resource Centre provides programs to families and community, in doing so creating happy and healthy communities. Programming is widely based on the community’s needs and changes regularly.

Hope Blooms

Since 2008, Hope Blooms has had a measurable impact on the community of North End Halifax in food security, community confidence and inclusion and education.  Through innovative agricultural and culinary programs, Hope Blooms engages youth to become change agents, positively impacting the community. We are thrilled to have partnered with them in supporting arts-based programs that allow youth to further creatively express their social entrepreneur activities, and engage in youth activism.  Programming is offered based on the community’s needs.

The IWK – Adolescent Intensive Services & Garron Centre Support

Starting in 2019, the MacPhee Centre partnered with the IWK to bring creative programming to youth accessing mental health support in acute and in-patient programming across Halifax. Facilitators work closely with the team a the IWK in bringing meaningful and specific programs to youth. If you’d like to learn more about this partnership, please reach out to the Outreach Program Manager at diana@macpheecentre.ca

The Take Action Society

The Take Action Society is devoted to effecting positive community improvements through direct work with marginalized, at-risk youth and families in Dartmouth North. Run by a group of volunteers dedicated to the community full of love and passion, in the past we often offered programs in the Highfield Park Community Centre.

YMCA Centre for Immigrant Programs

The YMCA for Immigrant Programs offers a variety of programs for children and teenagers in the local area. Whether it is sporting get togethers, community and social programs, or collaborative creative offerings, the Centre shows up for its youth! In the past, we have collaborated on music and visual arts programs – and cannot wait to see what is next!