November 16, 2016
"Meet a Community Art Star" is a regular feature showcasing ArtStarts' amazing group of volunteers who are passionate, enthusiastic arts champions. Read more posts in this series.
If you've been to our ArtStarts at River Market events, chances are you'll recognize Ariane's warm and welcoming smile. Ariane Fleischmann kindly volunteers with ArtStarts, helping out at our monthly family workshops in New Westminster. She also regularly devotes her literary talents to writing about these events and capturing a little of the magic that takes place when families engage in the arts together.
Hi Ariane! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm a writer and editor, working mostly on magazines. The best part about my publishing career is that it's allowed me to do what I love — write and explore. Because I've worked at a few different magazines, I've had the opportunity to meet and interview some interesting people, and always keep learning as I tackle new subjects.
In my spare time, I read (a lot) — I have a soft spot for Can Lit and fantasy/sci-fi, but I like to keep up with the literary scene around the world. It's a tall order; there are so many great books out there. I spend most of my time with my cat and my fiancé (not necessarily in that order), exploring the Pacific Northwest, cooking every vegetarian recipe I come across, playing video games and watching great films. My ideal day is staying in, reading a book, listening to the rain patter the window and cooking dinner with my beau.
Why do you volunteer? What brought you to ArtStarts?
After pursuing a Master's and being busy with my career, I felt really disconnected from the arts community that I used to be a part of. I danced (ballet) for 18 years and my parents have always ensured me and my sisters had access to the arts. ArtStarts stood out to me as an organization that was making a difference in children's lives. I was especially drawn to ArtStarts because they advocate for regional access to the arts. Growing up in a small town, I know schools can have a tough time making music, dance, theatre and visual arts available to families. ArtStarts helps make that happen. And on top of that, it provides opportunities for artists to share their work across the province.
Do you have a favourite memory or moment from your time volunteering at ArtStarts at River Market?
My very first workshop was a theatre presentation. One of the performers unexpectedly pulled me on stage for a dance, so I was immediately engaged with the audience. I remember the kids inching forward on their pillows during the performance because they were so eager, and the performers kept pushing them back, as if it was all part of the show.
Other than that, it's been really rewarding to see families coming back month after month and seeing kids come out of their shells.
Based on what you've seen and experienced at ArtStarts at River Market, how do you think families benefit from taking part in arts workshops?
I notice a lot of interaction between kids at the workshops; sometimes I'll ask them how they know each other and I'm always so thrilled when they've made a new friend at River Market.
Another benefit is a broadening of artistic values and definitions. ArtStarts isn't just about the visual arts, but every form of creative output, whether that's photography, film, dance, music or printmaking. The workshops are also about diversity and openness, an opportunity to learn something new about others and yourself.
What is your definition of creativity?
This is always a tough answer to put into words. It's humanity; it's expression; it's collective; it's magic. Creativity requires you to put down your guard and trust yourself. In times of doubt, it's a way to put into form your fears, anxiety and aggression. Creativity is free and freeing.
How do you connect yourself to creativity in your everyday life?
I've chosen a career that makes me happy. I find time in my schedule to volunteer, to spend time with friends, to take ballet classes and to paint. Recently, I bought a watercolour set and have been learning new techniques and letting my mind wander in new palettes. I dream.
If you could go back in time and tell your five-year-old self something, what would you say?
That it's ok to change your mind about what you want to do and to never stop learning or exploring.
Thank you, Ariane!
If you're interested in volunteering with ArtStarts, learn more about current opportunities at artstarts.com/volunteer
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