Perhaps the best thing about art is that we all do it. It’s something that binds us all together. “Wait,” you might say. “I’m not an artist! I don’t paint or write songs.” But maybe you doodle in your notebook when you’re extra bored. Maybe you do fantastic solos in the shower, or have a way with the written word.

Not everyone views themselves as an artist, but UTM’s Artistic Resource Team believes that every student, regardless of academic background, deserves an opportunity to come into that role. The annual UTM Arts Festival, a visual art exhibition and performance showcase, provides them with a venue to display and even sell their art. “If anyone is interested in buying the art they see, they can let us know, and we’ll pass their request on to the artist,” said Christopher Lengyell, one of the event organizers.

In addition to hosting ArtsFest, ART offers programs to UTM students to nurture their artistic talents and pursue potential interests, offers volunteer and Work-Study positions, and organizes excursions, including art gallery tours in downtown Toronto.

ART set up the first part of ArtsFest, the visual art exhibition, just outside the MiST Theatre on Wednesday evening. Anyone passing through CCT could see the exhibit spread out on tables, leaning up against banisters, and even sitting on benches.

I loved the use of lots of beautiful colours in Zack Honey’s oil on canvas piece, “Agrophobia”. A sculpture entitled “Wednesday” by Shonise Douglas was made simply from wires, feather, and wood, yet the delicate placing of each feather brought the entire sculpture together to create a beautiful set of wings. Daniel Deus also displayed several of his pieces, all done in acrylic on masking tape. The masking tape gave a plaid background to each painting, a beautiful texture that complemented the subjects; images of flannel shirts and contemporary architecture added even more lines to the pieces.

A little before 8 p.m., the exhibit viewers began filing into the MiST Theatre for the performances. The judges of the show were Juliana Zalucky (the exhibition coordinator of the Blackwood Gallery), Jenna Menzies (a UTM staff member), Marguerite Sookoor (a UTM alumna), and Dax Urbszat (a UTM professor who performs at various campus music events). The show was hosted by Daniel Altman, a senior at UTM.

Act one was packed with cover songs to get the crowd pumped by music they could sing along to. The show started with an opening performance from Urbszat, and then Ronny ElShabassy and Joe Measures (known together as YallaYalla) took to the stage with a cover of Local Natives’ “Who Knows Who Cares”. More covers followed by the Trace, Aaron Schaefer, and Sara Peters. Jason Summers performed an original song called “Jimeny Jilikers Radioactive Man”, and there were dance performances as well. GG Squad did a breakdancing routine, and Courtney Keir performed a dance called “On/Off”. There was even a dramatic reading from the Judith Thompson play Such Creatures by second-year theatre and drama student Kate Cattell-Daniels.

During the intermission, the UTM Dance Team gave a preview of their performance at the U of T Festival of Dance and offered a contemporary jazz fusion piece called “Aretha”, choreographed by Ali Lefcoe. The music for the piece was a medley of three songs by Aretha Franklin, each representing a different stage of a relationship.

Act two began with a campus favourite: Northern Souls. The boys recently performed at UTM’s Got Talent and UTM’s annual Science Formal. They performed an original song called “Down on Canoe Lake”.

The audience enjoyed more covers from Ram Jam, Jordyn Stewart and Daniel Deus, Matthew Butler, and Brittany Miranda. Alex Tkachuk gave a dramatic reading of his poems “I Can’t Find the Spot” and “The Finches”, and Luke Sawczak performed an original solo piano song called “Three Swans”.

The truth is, art isn’t limited to painting or singing. Whether you wrestle with drawing, piecing together, constructing, or whatever else might merit the name of art, you have the opportunity to share your work on campus, thanks to organizations like ART and the flourishing artists of the UTM community.

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