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Embellishing Gen-Z Through ARTZ-SHOWCASE

Victoria Ormiston, Leilah Doyle and Leila Pozzi


Students sometimes live in a bleaker world than most, stuck in an infinite loop of assignments, long commutes and unavoidable circumstances. Art becomes the only way to add colour to the lives of those who need it the most. Unfortunately, a career in the arts is often seen as unsustainable, which discourages students from pursuing their passions. However, the students who do choose to remain creatively active in para-academical arts often struggle with the lack of bilingual opportunities.

Many things kill creativity: comparison, competition, and, most importantly, censorship. By creating competitions, contests and showcases exclusive to artists of a certain language or program, we are barring and censoring students from expressing themselves creatively on a platform. We are choosing to disproportionately represent certain artists while simultaneously leaving the same ones unrecognized. This unequal treatment also makes it difficult for younger students to develop a sense of belonging in certain spaces, which intimidates them from ever showcasing their art. These futile and surface-level problems are not at the root of creation: xpression, resistance and emotion are the true soul of artistry’s body.

This is exactly why we created ARTZ, a platform encouraging and supporting post-secondary students in their artistic and academic endeavours. ARTZ strives to host a yearly intercollegiate variety show welcoming students from diverse artistic backgrounds to bask in its beaming lights for a one-night-only event. This event is an opportunity for students from various academic backgrounds to gain experience in their designated fields by contributing to the ARTZ showcase committees. Furthermore, the ARTZ showcase is a nonprofit event that donates its revenues to a different cause each year to represent as many communities as possible.

ARTZ is founded by three different students with completely different backgrounds. Despite our differences, one thing united us; Art. Here are our stories.

Leilah: During my last year of high school, I wasn’t sure which path to follow. I knew what my passions were, but I felt as though attempting a career in music would only guarantee me a life of struggle. As a musician’s daughter, I knew firsthand what that reality entailed, so I decided to chase a different dream. Though I left behind this idea of fame, I never stopped loving the way the last chord of a song rings out into the audience. That is why I helped create ARTZ. I am just one of many students with artistic talents who fear the consequences of a life where they pursue uncertain dreams. Today’s society has expectations, and the reality is that success is not easy and not always possible. ARTZ allows students to experience one night of stardom, one night to see what a life of glitz and glamour could be like.

Leila: That feeling of taking what I thought would be my last ever bow at the end of a dance show is what made me rethink it all. I have been dancing since I was six years old and even studied dance in high school. All those after-school hours practicing dances, trying on costumes, and just lying down on the stage, had become a part of who I was. That being said, climate change and activism were also very important to me. Even though I decided to study social change and solidarity, I knew I couldn’t give up my passion. ARTZ became the perfect plan to ensure that students like Victoria, Leilah and myself didn’t need to just throw this dream away. It became the way I could find a balance in my life and provide opportunities for students alike.

Victoria: I like to believe that my whole life has been one big canvas. As a child, I had a very vivid imagination because my father believed I should learn to read books instead of riding bikes. When I did learn, he not only took me on bike rides, but [on] adventures in Neverland, the gloomy streets of Manchester and the deep waters inhabited by the Loch Ness monster. Through my love for reading, I developed an appreciation for all things in the visual arts, because I could never paint or draw, myself. My lack of talent in that artistic department made me eventually find the thing I love the most: dancing. Although I have been dancing for as long as I could read (Thanks mom!!), I only started taking it seriously in 6th grade, when I joined my first competitive team. Dance grew up with me, it gave me consistency and helped me develop skills I even use academically. My love for dance, the arts and activism led me to co-create ARTZ. I believe ARTZ will be able to showcase systemically underrepresented stories and inspire a whole new generation of artists to keep pursuing their passions.

Our stories are only a few of hundreds that deserve to be told. If you want to be a part of the movement, come join us for a night of fun on May 2nd from 6-8:15 p.m. Tickets will be sold at Dawson College, online through our Instagram @artzshowcase, and at the door.

Link to ARTZ showcase Instagram page


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