The Integrated Arts program has been a fundamental part of not only my academic career, but my personal growth. The program gave me the tools and support to develop as an artist. Offering endless opportunities in drama, dance, music and visual art, I grew with my craft; shaping my interests into what is now my skill set for a career in the fashion industry.
The integrated Arts program presents an environment that welcomes creativity, self-expression and acceptance. Graduating with the additional Integrated Arts certificate reflects the hours spent alongside supportive friends and faculty that have truly changed me for the better. I highly recommend the integrated arts program to any student who has a creative spark and a love for the arts.
By the time I graduated from high school, I couldn't imagine the previous four years without the Integrated Arts Program. My peers challenged me intellectually and creatively, teachers became mentors, and my classes fostered lasting friendships. The hours spent learning technique and practising my art under the guidance of my teachers gave me a significant advantage when I entered the study of fine art at the university level. I gained a strong foundation in critical thinking and had the privilege of spending my school days in an environment of acceptance and encouragement. My secondary education taught me that I needed to be in a creative career, and gave me the confidence to pursue it without looking back.
If you had met me at age 13, and then met me now, I doubt you would believe the difference. I was shy, I was withdrawn, and I had no confidence in my abilities, let alone artistic ones. I was convinced that I should go into the sciences and make art as a hobby. The Integrated Arts Program changed that. I learned about drama and music and dance and discovered I was talented at tons of things I had previously thought out of my league – I was even in Seussical the Musical in grade eleven. I was encouraged to write and won many contests. But mostly I learned about visual art, my specialization, and art class taught me about life. It is important to know how to attain accurate perspective on things, how to get paint out of hair or hair out of the back of a hairdryer. It is useful to know the best way to dismember an antique book or how long it is rational to focus on one detail before going insane or that you shouldn’t build things out of mouldy stumps. And of course, it is essential to possess the tools to tell the good from the bad, the kitsch from the genuine portrayal and how to make things out of your own self that mean something.
My IA year became a close-knit family, where everyone knew everyone else's name. For four years we collablorated boldly and made fabulous messes together. Some of us travelled to New York, Stratford, Toronto and even Greece and Turkey. I am now in my second year at Queen's University as an English major and still make art regularly. I believe the kind of growth, experience and fun the Integrated Arts Program provided me is unique. Do it - I promise you won't regret it.
I will always be grateful for the manifold ways in which the integrated arts program has benefited my life.
The Integrated arts program allowed me to explore my creativity across a plenitude of new and exciting mediums. It provided a safe environment for me to take risks, explore the boundaries of imagination, and redefine my sense of identity. It allowed me to meet and forge strong bonds with many talented and special people, many of whom I am honoured to call my friends today.
It is no exaggeration to say that I would be a different person, perhaps a more limited person without all the unique and wonderful experiences that accompanied my time in the Integrated Arts program. I will never forget my whirlwind stint as a costume and set director, my mornings in ceramics bringing clay to life, my afternoons studying the beauty of St. Stephen’s Cathedral or with bated breath developing my photographs in the darkroom. Every day we were learning, making, painting, building, performing, writing.
I think the most important thing the Arts Program nurtured in me is a robust love of learning and a joy in creating that I am happy to say hasn’t faded over time. For that I am grateful always.