5 Reasons to Create Art NOW

by Sylvie Stojanovski, Prologue placement student

In recent years, we’ve increasingly seen more cutbacks to arts funding in schools across Ontario. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by People for Education, most arts funding in schools primarily comes from parent councils who prioritize and fundraise for arts programming. Given that the arts play a significant role in supporting student learning and development, it is great that the Toronto Arts Council, Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Prologue to the Performing Arts have a partnership to produce tdsbCREATES, a system-wide celebration of the arts.

At the tdsbCREATES residency launch earlier this year, I had the pleasure of speaking to 5 different artists who are a part of the elementary residency program, in which over 40 artists are paired with different schools to help students and teachers hone their skills in a particular artistic craft. They shared a bit on their background in the arts, their experience with tdsbCREATES, and why they think it is important for students create art NOW:

Art helps you see the world with new eyes.

Tatiana Choulova is a professional film instructor and producer who grew up in Moscow, Russia. Over the past 3 years she has worked with tdsbCREATES to create a number of short animated and live action films.

Tatiana’s POV: Experiencing film from both sides of the camera helps students transition from being passive viewers to active filmmakers. They begin to point out new details, and things they might not normally see, from both sides of the camera.

Why is it important to get involved in tdsbCREATES NOW?
“tdsbCREATES gives students and teachers an opportunity to express themselves, and learn new things. I learn from my students a lot. They help me see the world from younger eyes.”

Art helps build community.

Chanson Yeboah is a Toronto-born artist with a passion for crochet and textiles. She is also one half of the collective, Acts of Kindness (AoK!), whose goal is to spread love, create outlets of mindfulness, and build community through the art of crochet. This is her first year with tdsbCREATES.

Chanson’s POV: Art is about community building. It gives students and teachers an opportunity to share their stories, in a supportive environment. People often lose themselves in the process of creating, but find themselves through the conversations they have with their peers.

Why is it important to get involved in tdsbCREATES NOW?
“tdsbCREATES is a mentorship program that helps make art more accessible to students.”

Art helps you think critically.

Tumaini Lyaruu is a facilitator, crafter, and crochet artist based in the city of Tkaronto. T is also the other half of the Acts of Kindness collective. It is T’s first year as an artist mentor at tdsbCREATES.

Tumaini’s POV: Students today are inundated with narratives, including fake news. Art helps them think critically about issues and challenges they face on a daily basis. The process of story weaving, piecing together different stories using elements of design like colour, shape, and texture, promotes conversations around social justice, lives, and communities.

Why is it important to get involved in tdsbCREATES NOW?
“tdsbCREATES is the robust integration of students working with artists to create change.”

Art helps break down barriers.

Samyuktha Punthambekar is an Indian Classical Dancer, Arts Educator and Arts Administrator. This is her second year as an artist mentor at tdsbCREATES.

Samyuktha’s POV: Art helps break down barriers through bringing diverse communities and people together to realize their innate potential.

Why is it important to get involved in tdsbCREATES NOW?
“tdsbCREATES connects students, teachers, and artists together.” Now, more than ever, “the human spirit must rise—this is only possible through education, through nurturing young minds.”

Art helps you find your mission.

Ekaterina Ionova is a professional film-maker and photographer, as well as the founder of FILMBERRIES, a Film Club for kids to write, act, direct and produce their own short movies, cartoons, pictures and art projects. This is her first year as an artist mentor at tdsbCREATES.

Ekaterina’s POV: Art is connected to memories and emotions. When students create, they have an opportunity to unpack what is important to them, and realize what they really love.

Why is it important to get involved in tdsbCREATES NOW?
“tdsbCREATES helps students to think like artists.”

Sylvie Stojanovski

Sylvie Stojanovski is currently a student at the University of Toronto Scarborough specializing in Arts Management with a double minor in Studio and City Studies. She is especially interested in exploring how community arts programs enhance learning in the 21st century, and researching the impact of arts-based projects in schools across Ontario. She will continue to serve as the Outreach and Research Assistant at Prologue to the Performing Arts until May 2018.