What We Do

ReFreshed Crew aspires to support Indigenous and vulnerable youth towards their full potential through a community of empowerment. Through a shared love of hip-hop culture and art, we hope to inspire change that allows our members to achieve their life goals. For many of our members, ReFreshed Crew provides the necessary outlet to channel the frustration and hardship that they experience in everyday life. Hip-hop allows ReFreshed Crew to connect to our members in a way that many cannot, the connection formed between mentor and student is what we are all about. We value mentorship, empowerment, liberation, creating opportunities for success and giving our members the skills to overcome obstacles and break cycles of oppression.

A focus on resiliency

We partner with Indigenous communities, leaders, artists and organizations using empowerment as an entry point for youth to take ownership of their delivery and outcomes, through an understanding of shared values and community responsibility. The result is belonging within a Crew, which increases positive Indigenous identify and strengthens social ties. Focus is placed on the development of mentoring relationships built through artistic and project collaboration. This ties into the importance of the Truth & Reconciliation Report by creating cross-cultural understanding, sharing and respect. Each and every youth is encouraged to find their voice and practice their expression freely.

How We Do It

ReFreshed Crew’s after-school programs take place once a week for the Fall and Winter school semesters, along with a variety of events and summer programs. The programs bring together urban artist educators, community and youth workers, elders, a culinary chef, volunteers, and community youth. The programs specialize in supporting marginalized and Indigenous youth by creating inclusive and respectful spaces. Mixing urban arts and traditional Indigenous culture helps youth express issues unique to them. They are designed to empower youth to find their authentic self and showcase their voice and abilities to the community.

The Urban arts explored through these workshops include visual arts, music production, poetry, dance, and rap. Every session ends with a traditional sharing circle and a Hip-Hop circle, called a Cypher: a jam session where the youth share their art. The programs are tailored to Indigenous youth but are not restrictive or exclusive. Once they turn 18, youth who have participated in the programs are given the opportunity to volunteer as leaders.

Why Hiphop

The Freed Artists Society and Refreshed Crew are built on the principals of love, creativity, and mentorship that Hip-Hop is founded upon. Historically, Hip-Hop was known for its ability to bring people together to celebrate art despite life’s challenges, personal differences and stereotypes. ReFreshed Crew moves in the same accessible, trendsetting art form to reach the groups of youth who need it the most. Our participants are immediately interested and engaged in learning more and want to become a part of something greater.

Our Community

Our programming brings together Indigenous culture and values with Hip-Hop culture and arts. Through the use of sharing circles and other Indigenous traditional approaches, for building healthy relationships and communication – our workshops inspire positive transformation through equal representation and a human connection. The power of the circle helps youth express their struggles and find supportive paths forward. It’s an honor to partner with the Indigenous community to build transformative expression and empower youth to reach their full potential.

As ReFreshed grows, so does this Circle of Restoration. Our creative relationships have made for a rooted and innovative approach to youth work and community support. We are honored and thankful to our community friends and partners:

  • Stoney Nakoda Nation
  • Tsuut’ina Nation
  • Tahltan Nation

Our History

Launched by the non-profit organization, the Freed Artist Society in 2013, ReFreshed Crew is designed to empower marginalized and Indigenous youth. Founded by Albertan artists and community leaders, we support youth that have been impacted by poverty and societal exclusion.

The Freed Artist Society began offering urban art workshops to vulnerable youth through partnerships with Calgary Housing, the Calgary Young Offenders Centre, various Treaty 7 First Nations communities and Calgary-based schools. ReFreshed launches after-school kids program in Ogden.

The Freed Artist society became an official Albertan non-profit and continues to develop innovative youth/community programming.

ReFreshed youth create an EP album titled “Freed Hip-Hop Mixtape.” Created throughout a nine-week program with high-risk youth from Calgary Young Offenders Centre.

ReFreshed teams up with Legacy Foundation and Cold Lake High School through arts empowerment workshop.

ReFreshed Crew was launched in May of 2013 as an out-of-school program. Sunday workshops took place at The House Coffee Shop in Kensington.

ReFreshed launches in-school program with Tsuut’ina First Nations Junior High.

Sept 9, 2013
Fresh Talk – Miles Faber speaking on the roots of popping.

Sept 11, 2013
Turntable Q&A session with Reflects and Grimrock.

Sept 23, 2013
ReFreshed BLOCK Party Mural is born.

Sept 24, 2013
First alley BBQ BLOCK party.

Oct 27, 2013
ReFreshed Hip-Hop Festival

ReFreshed launches hip-hop and urban arts after school program in Forest Lawn.

ReFreshed facilitates workshops and performances at Treaty 7 Arts Festival.

ReFreshed hosts youth 3×3 Basketball Tournament in Calgary.

April 25, 2014
Fresh Talks with YNOT of The Rock Steady

May 2014
Treaty 7 Arts Festival in Kainai
Nakoda Rad Camp

June 2, 2014
Fresh Talks with QueRock of the Mighty Zulu Kings and Creeasian of the Original Rudes Crew

June 14, 2014
Turnt Up Block Party

June 28, 2014
ReFreshed For the Record Festival and Fundraiser

July 14, 2014
Art on the Block Party

Programming expanded to Morley First Nation.

ReFreshed attends Treaty 7 Youth Conference in Morley.

ReFreshed facilitates workshops and performances at Treaty 7 Kids Festival in Big Horn.

ReFreshed hosts youth 3×3 Basketball Tournament in Calgary.

ReFreshed hosts USAY backpack giveaway event.

Feb 12, 2015
“We Are From” music video premiere.

March 10, 2015
ReFreshed appears on Shaw TV to speak out on the impact of arts on the community.

Summer 2015
Morley Hip-Hop Camp

Sept 19, 2015
Fresh Talks with GZA/Genius of Wu Tang Clan

The Treaty 7 pilot project began in the Fall of 2016. We partnered with the Tsuut’ina Nation and continued our relationship with the Stoney Nakoda First nation community at Morley.

The Treaty 7 project shifted our focus to Indigenous youth and stopped workshops within urban Calgary.

ReFreshed hosts youth 3×3 Basketball Tournament in Calgary.

ReFreshed hosts USAY backpack giveaway event.

April 2, 2016
ReFreshed receives equipment and a $20,000 cash donation from the city of Calgary, The Juno’s and Kardinal Offishall.

Summer 2016
ReFreshed Summer Jam

ReFreshed performs at Calgary Foundation’s Vital City 2017

ReFreshed receives DJ equipment from Skrillex and Diplow

June 13, 2017
ReFreshed hosts friends and family celebration

Summer 2017
Calgary Indigenous Youth Graffiti Camp

Sept 23 2017
ReFreshed speaks on health, wellness and creativity at RIA Conference

October 17, 2017
Tsuut’ina ReFreshed music video premiere party.

June 23, 2018
ReFreshed receives recognition from The Star Calgary

Summer 2018:

  • Tsuut’ina Hip Hop Camp
  • Eden Valley Hip Hop Camp
  • Morley Hip Hop Camp

ReFreshed continues to deliver programs in:

  • Morley
  • Eden Valley
  • Tsuut’ina Nation

After-school Program Launch in:

  • Morley
  • Eden Valley
  • Tsuut’ina Nation

Feb 19, 2019

Fresh Talks with Shad

June

  • ReFreshed Indigenous Youth Hip-Hop Summit at Jubilee Auditorium
  • ReFreshed Presents: Art Exhibit and Hip-Hop Showcase with artsPlace Canmore