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April 16, 2018

Welcome to our New Program Coordinator, Lily Cryan!

Please join us in welcoming Lily Cryan to the ArtStarts team as our new Program Coordinator for the Gallery, Grants, and Infusion Professional Development.

Welcome, Lily! Tell us a little about yourself. 

I am a Dancer, Theatre Artist, Choreographer, Director, etc. who just generally loves the performing arts! I have a BFA in Dance and Communications from Simon Fraser University and in my time there made a lot of different projects in different mediums with different folks! When I make art, I often work with groups of dancers and actors together as I find there is more we can express when we have different bodies and abilities and strengths in a creative space. For the past year and a half or so, I was working at SFU in the Residence Life department running the Orientation program, hiring processes, and community space. I am so excited to be back in an arts context and bringing my programming and administrative experience to ArtStarts!

I grew up in Seattle, WA doing a lot of ballet and modern dance training outside of my regular school schedule. I did mostly enjoy school though as I was fortunate to go to an Elementary school that did a lot of Arts Integrated Education including a Salmon Life Cycle module, a Middle-Ages research project where we got to design our own Coats of Arms and built a stone wall in our classroom out of cardboard boxes and paint, and a project with The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster where we made our own versions of the Characters in the book and younger students came to our classroom to see our play version of The Phantom Tollbooth.

What is your role at ArtStarts? What do you do in your role?

My role is a lot of the most fun parts of ArtStarts (not to brag) - I get to help curate our Gallery space, run ArtStarts Explores and ArtStarts on Saturdays, put on workshops and tours for schools and other groups, and help administer the Artists in the Classroom grants! 

Where did art start for you?

Art started for me when I read the book “Lili at Ballet” when I was about 4. I decided that since my name was also Lily then I should do Ballet class. When I went to my first dance class to watch the other kids running around and dancing, I was so excited and wanted to jump in! 21 years later and not much has changed in that arena to be honest.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?

To embrace failure in all of its forms. Big failures and little failures all have something to teach you and if you are always afraid of failing, you will never try anything new. My favorite quote is from Samuel Beckett, "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

What is your favorite childhood memory?

One of my favorite childhood memories from being in school was our Immigration project in grade 2 (which I didn’t know at the time but was definitely arts integrated learning). I grew up in the states so we learned about Ellis Island and how new immigrants came to America in the late 1800’s through Ellis Island. We were split up into groups of 4 to represent families from different countries. We had to do research with the World Encyclopedias and dial-up Internet to figure out what the people from our country would have worn, eaten, brought with them, what language they would speak, what kind of family structure they might have, what religion they practiced, etc. We then designed our own costumes and packages and on the last day we went to the Gym that was set up to look like Ellis Island and we got processed by our teachers like newly arrived immigrants would have. I remember it being both fun and scary and I still remember a lot about Norway, the country I was assigned to research.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.

I love the art of drag and drag queens/kings/hyper queens/etc. It is so exciting to me to see someone transform so completely from one person to another and I think drag has a lot to teach us about heteronormativity and how we can live in a world with less rigid gender constructs. Obviously RuPaul’s Drag Race has a big part in drag culture today but Vancouver is also FULL of amazing drag artists! I love going to see them perform!

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