Do y’all remember the episode of Martin called My (Not So) Funny Valentine? Martin and Gina were celebrating Valentine’s Day, and Gina’s thoughtful gift to Martin was a carved statue of an ass. Not a donkey – a butt/posterior/bamsie/doo-doo maker (just not stuffed inside pyjamas – sorry GFK and U-God). Gina was sharing her love of art with Martin, and while he appreciated the gesture, he was NOT feeling it.
I can relate. When I was 9, I was accepted into an arts elementary school. From grades 4-8, Vocal, Dance, Drama, Visual Art, and Orchestra (I played the recorder, piano, and violin) were regular classes alongside French, Math, Gym, and all the others. We did Shakespeare plays, learned Alvin Ailey choreography, studied art history, and played Mozart and Bach. My younger brother and sister both ended up attending the school as well, so my house was always a continuous hum of violin/tuba/flute practice, with playbills stuck on the fridge and art pieces hung on the walls. My love of art in all its forms grew in those years, but I sadly ended up taking it for granted. Once I left and entered high school, I suffered one of the biggest culture shock periods of my life. Save for the few “art nerds”, no one cared about the things I cared about, and I began to see that there wasn’t much room for the beauty of art in my daily life anymore – unless I created those spaces for myself.
Now, I clearly see and understand my privilege at being able to attend this school (which actually didn’t charge tuition, so I don’t know how they did what they did). I know from talking to friends in high school and university that they weren’t exposed to the kinds of things I was, but most would have loved the opportunity. Even now in adulthood, I engage in conversations with people who wish they could have gone to an arts school – who wish they could play an instrument, or dance, or do a play. My response is, “Well, why the f*ck not?” Like pretty much everything else in life, there’s usually no one stopping you but you. Art has meant so much in my life, and I can only imagine what it could do for others who have been under-exposed to its goodness.
Check out your local dance studios and see if they offer drop-in classes for beginners. See if a university music student will give you lessons on that instrument you’ve been dying to learn. Garage sales and music shops often have decent quality instruments on hand, so you don’t necessarily have to spend an arm and a leg. Want to sing? Join your church choir or check Meetup.com for local singing groups. Drama groups are all over the place for improv or beginners looking to take a few classes to learn the craft. The options are out there – you just have to look!
In just a few weeks, I’ll be co-hosting The Mystic Effect, an incredible event that combines artistic elements of fashion, film, music, poetry, and dance. This will be the kick-off event for Stacy-Ann Buchanan Productions, and it’s going to be an amazing show! The Mystic Effect will expose you to a variety of Toronto’s up-and-coming artists, giving them a platform to display their various creations to the world. It’s also a charitable event, with part proceeds going towards Urban Arts, a non-profit organization that offers art programming to youth in the city. If you’re looking for an event that will scratch your artistic itch (whether you knew you needed it scratched or not), AND leave you feeling good about contributing to the community, The Mystic Effect is where you need to be!
Since you’ve read this far, I’m going to reward a lucky reader with a ticket for the show on April 28th! All you have to do is comment below or tweet me (@BeeSince83) and tell me your favourite piece of art. It could be a Salvador Dali painting. It could be a Wu-Tang album. It could be a piece of clothing, a dance, or a poem. It could be almost anything! Art is everywhere you look, so let me know your favourite expression of art, and you could win a ticket to The Mystic Effect!
If you want to also purchase tickets, please head to The Mystic Effect website for more details! See you on the 28th!