By Arts Editor Cheryl Folland

As the semester comes to a close, stress runs high. This week I interviewed people asking how art, whether created or observed, as helped them.

What causes art in its various mediums to speak to people’s hearts? How does creativity provide an outlet to deal with difficult situations?

WhyArtJoshBourgetJosh Bourget: Sometimes I feel lost. I grew up in a culture with a special connection to The Land (North West Territories), but I now live in a culture which has no understanding of it. And I’ve tried to talk to people about it, but I can’t find an adequate way to communicate the way that The Land has been calling me. So, I write poetry. Nobody’s really read any of it, but it helps to have an avenue of expression so that I don’t feel trapped by my own lack of words.

WhyArtTJConwayTJ Conway: I use art and music to let out the emotions that I hate to show others. Some are toxic, some are beneficial. I would rather remain neutral than show my emotions because they are that strong. I easily can let them run wild and scare others with the intensity of them. Art allows me to show ideas, thoughts, and connections. I can take a paintbrush and start with a flower, but fill in the background with a mechanical heart. It’s all symbolism. Music allows a release of emotional tension that I generally don’t allow from myself. I can make the keys, scales, and arpeggios rise and fall like tidal waves. I’ve cried before while playing guitar because I needed a way to talk that didn’t involve my voice. Voices don’t always work, but music is my voice that everyone can hear.

WhyArtMaggieHoultMaggie Hoult: Art is a way of showing the world what’s going on inside of you on a daily basis. It can show things you might be afraid to show otherwise. Sometimes it can be pretty, sometimes in can be messy, sometimes it doesn’t make sense, and sometimes it’s all over the place. But that’s okay because guess what? We are all like that sometimes.

WhyArtLaurenSempleLauren Semple: Theatre has been my escape since my parents first separated when I was nine years old. Angry, scared, and frustrated at my inability to process the new feelings I was experiencing, I found my way to the stage as the Elephant Child in an elementary school remake of the Kipling classic. I was hooked. Not only did I fall in love with the theatre and drama, but I discovered an outlet. Even today, I still use character work, body movement, and vocal exercises to work through my emotions, on and off the stage. It is through the act of becoming someone else, really embodying the essence of character, that I am able to do two things;  I can explore my emotions from an objective point of view, just as I would dissect a charged scene in a script, and work through it. The other option is to play through my emotions in another form, such as dance, vocal work, movement, and comedy. Theatre has given me the ability to express emotions using far more than just my words. Sometimes in grief, in sadness or in anger, there are no words.

Reflecting, I resonate with each response on some level. Art, music, theatre, and dance have been important in my life. Each art genre has something unique to offer those who create or observe. The perfect song can set a bad day back on track. Careful brushstrokes and brilliant colours have the ability to evoke emotion. Stageplays give an audience the chance to enter a new world without a stamp in their passport.