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April 30, 2014

Meet a Community Art Star: Simone Orlando, Dominika Pilat and Pei Tan

"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.

Since March, ArtStarts has had three BCIT Business Management students in the last semester of their program diligently putting together a research study about how the ArtStarts Gallery and Resource Centre fits within our community. Simone Orlando, Dominika Pilat and Pei Tan approached us in the Fall because they wanted to observe and understand more about how a non-profit model works. What has resulted so far in their research has been an abundance of information that we will definitely be utilizing to better serve the community. We sat down with the three of them to talk about creativity and business school.

Where did art start for you?

Dominika: I was really lucky. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. My mom would always have a project planned. She never wanted us to watch TV, it was either play outside or make art. But I think I decided to go into art more professionally when I was in Grade 8. I went to high school at Killarney and they needed a stage manager. I was the Grade 8 telling Grade 12s what to do. I became senior stage manager by Grade 9 and I did that until I was in Grade 12. By Grade 10, I was working with The Cultch with their youth festival.

Simone: It started in school when I went to an alternative school in North Vancouver called Windsor House. It was in that school where we were allowed opportunities to explore and do alternative things during lunch hours like drama, dance and more creative endeavors. We had the ability to structure days on our own. So it actually started for me in that environment. There was more flexibility and freedom around how I could go about learning.

That was Grade 5, but that's how I started dancing — and then I danced professionally for a very long time. I didn't end up taking ballet classes in the school, but it was as a result of our choreographic explorations at lunchtime that I ended up actually enrolling in a dance school.

Pei: I think it started in elementary school. I went to Mount Pleasant Elementary and they had a really good art program. I always loved art because it was a way for me to escape.

How do you define creativity?

Dominika: I think creativity is the ability to think outside of the box. There are so many aspects, it doesn't have to be art, it can be in everything you do.

Simone: Allowing yourself to explore beyond what it is you know. Stepping into the unknown, which can be a bit scary at times and just pushing those boundaries and processes that you've already created for yourself in every part of your life and just tearing them down and saying "Let's try something different".

Pei: To me, creativity is like holding a paintbrush and seeing where it goes. You never really know where you'll go.

Is creativity a state? A process? Is it something tangible? Does it have substance or weight?

Pei: For me it's definitely a state. I shut myself off and just do. It's play.

Simone: From the perspective of being a dancer, I think that there are tangible elements to creativity, when watching my peers when they choose to go somewhere they haven't gone with a movement. You immediately see that change or shift within the movement. If you look at the body, it's such a diverse instrument and there's so many different ways that you can put things together.

I think creativity does have substance because without creativity I think this world we live in would be void of colour, diversity and so many things that make life interesting and give value to our day to day lives.

Dominika: I agree with Simone. Everything would be the same if it wasn't for creativity. It's what makes us different from everyone else.

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