Last Friday night, the UTM Artistic Resource Team held its 11th annual Arts Festival in the CCT Building. The show provided an opportunity for many of UTM’s artistic talented students to come together and show off their work. The first part of the evening, the visual arts exhibition, held in the CCT lobby, was a display of a range of visual art from many of the university’s most talented artists. The paintings, drawings, and photographs included social and political commentary, pop culture, and even self-portraits, and the CCT lobby was filled with students, professors, and alumni interested in seeing the unique perspective of UTM students through their artistic creations.


Entertained by a harpist and a jazz pianist, light refreshments, and a diverse collection of traditional, experimental, and digital art mediums within the artworks, students like Sarah Gong, a UTM undergraduate and the program designer for the night’s show, enjoyed the altered ambience. “Even though I’m usually on campus all the time,” she said, “being able to see such a familiar space be transformed into something so sophisticated is great.” Gregory Grist, a fourth-year physics student, also enjoyed the night: “The jazz musicians really change the atmosphere. It’s nice to see students so busy with schoolwork and exams come together for a night of culture, a night to discuss something besides exams and papers.”


The second part of the night, the performance showcase, further  explored the scope of our artistic talent. Graced by the charming and relaxed demeanour of organizer and host Matthew Butler, the show sailed through an assortment of young talent that ranged through dramatic performances, poetry, music, and dance.


Lindsay Middleton, a third-year theatre and drama student who dazzled the audience with her risqué monologue “Milktray Man”, commented, “There’s a lot of brilliant performers. I saw the dress rehearsal, and there’s lots of great talent this year, I’m really excited.” When asked about her own upcoming performance, she replied, “I’m so nervous!” but added, laughing, “Hopefully everything will go well.”

Considering the cheerful and enthusiastic audience reaction, the night was a success.


Some standouts were Stacey Gawrylash, who carried a simple cover of Brandi Carlile’s “Pride and Joy” with extraordinary vocals and guitar in the first half of the show, and Joseph Feldmeyer, who delivered a self-aware spoken word performance that resonated with postmodern vibes.


Kate Cattell-Daniels, a recent theatre and drama student, also wowed the crowd with a short yet powerful monologue in the second half of the showcase, a monologue spoken by Hermione in Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale. Carolyn Nettleton and Hailey Gillis also gave a delightfully campy rendition of Celine Dion’s “All Coming Back to Me Now”.


Alex Tkachuk, winner of the spoken word section of the festival, also pleased the audience with his original wordplay and innovative yet surreal poetry. When asked  after his performance to comment on the recognition he received from the judges, he replied: “It’s nice. It’s really nice… Sorry, it’s hard for me to take a compliment. I’m very flattered!”


Overall, the night was a hit, with a large audience turning out to support the UTM artists. Now in its 11th year, the UTM Arts Festival continues to be an outlet for students to exhibit their talent. Here’s hoping next year’s  festival can top an already  elaborate and entertaining night of art and culture.


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