April 10, 2019
At Showcase 2019 we prioritized increasing representation of equity-seeking artists in order to ensure that young people see themselves represented in arts programming at school. We are committed to providing students with accessible arts-based experiences in their schools and consider an intentional representation of equity groups crucial to keeping ourselves accountable.
Over these two days, we highlighted how we are working with our educators and community organizers towards a shared purpose to support young people to unlock their creativity to help them navigate their futures.
Here are three delegates who generously shared their reflections on this year’s intentional change of direction with Showcase:
Jason Gill - Peace River North (SD60), VP at North Peace Secondary and ArtStarts liaison
Lisa Thom - Nanaimo (SD68), District Coordinator for ArtStarts, VP and Grade 3 Teacher at McGirr Elementary
Bonnie Ishii - Burnaby (SD41), Music/Dance, Head Teacher at Confederation Park Elementary
Why did you choose to attend Showcase this year?
[Jason] “I am the new representative of SD60 so I was presented by this opportunity (I've been wanting to get involved for a few years now, so I'm excited to be a part of it).”
[Lisa] “I just returned back to Canada after being away for 12 years and one of the exciting parts of my new role as VP/ Grade 3 Teacher is the opportunity to work with ArtStarts! That’s why I attended.”
[Bonnie] “I was lucky enough to attend this year!”
What were some of the highlights for you from this year’s Showcase?
[Jason] “Making connections with like-minded people who value the arts as they pertain to the development of our youth and, in turn, society in general! I really appreciated Ivan Coyote's conversation [about artist safety] with us. They really shared the "artists' perspective" and it was a great message to take back to my district.”
[Lisa] “It was really powerful seeing the highlights of the new shows to bring to my school. The artists really thought about what they were presenting and changed my perspective.”
[Bonnie] “I loved the mingling activity! It was a safe way to talk to the other delegates, artists, and ArtStarts staff and was nice to learn about how other programs are managed in other districts.”
Was there anything you were surprised by at this year’s event?
[Jason] “Learning about what was ArtStarts and the changes that have taken place. It seemed like there were a few people that were concerned about these changes and made a point to share this. Change is never easy but sometimes necessary as we move forward and I think it was handled very well at your end!”
[Lisa] “I was pleasantly surprised by the whole thing. I loved everything! I thought it was organized and pleased to see that we had theatre seating. The event was so professional!”
[Bonnie] “I didn’t expect so much talk about the big message of why we are all here together. It was good! I also learned that ArtStarts is more than grants and a booking agency, you have a greater and more noble purpose to support the arts and what we do. I felt that there was more of a shift in that direction.”
We talked about “Shared Purpose”, did you see a connection with the performances and discussions from this year’s event to your school/district/organizations’ mission?
[Jason] “I would say, yes! As I am new to my position, I am still learning more about my districts' mission and the connections that are needed to be fostered as we move forward.”
[Lisa] “Yes! One of the district goals’ is truth and reconciliation. There is very specific content that we learn about but it’s more than that. Reconciliation is an action and it’s gaining a response from us. There is a conscious effort to bring about engagement for kids but with a message and with a purpose. The ArtStarts mission is working in support of my district's mission.”
[Bonnie] “It was a great reminder on how we are doing this work together and people need to know why we’re here. Wouldn’t it be nice if we can spend the week and talk about all the big ideas?”
With your experience from Showcase in mind, complete this sentence: I used to think… Now I think...
[Lisa] “Perspective. It helped me see that Showcase wasn’t only about entertainment, now I could see the purpose. Going now, seeing the shows and learning about the artists, helped me make the connection between the mission of ArtStarts and how it fits in with our district's goals.”
[Bonnie] “I used to think that Showcase was a glorified audition for art performing groups but now I think it’s so much more. All that adds context for when you are booking your groups. How is that artist fitting into your big picture of your schools and community - it gets people to learn deeper. It's a missed opportunity when you don’t make that connection."
Would you recommend other educators, administrators or community organizers to attend Showcase in the future?
[Jason] “I think we have a few influential people/groups in town that I'll be connecting with in the months ahead especially around the groups that could have a bigger, community impact!”
[Lisa] “Yes! I would 100% recommend it. I think every district needs to send at least one person. I would recommend that you come with knowledge of the district and the goals in advance, going into it will help you in bringing artists that are going to help reach your goal! Come for two days! Even if you weren’t an educator and are interested in performing arts at all, it's just a wonderful entertaining but thought-provoking experience. I’m excited just talking about it. That’s what Showcase is like!”
[Bonnie] “Yes! I think you do a fabulous job in showcasing amazing performing groups that meet core competencies.”
If you had missed Showcase 2019 you can see highlights of the performances on our Vimeo channel. You can also find our full Artists on Tour Directory for the 2019-20 school year on our website. If you wish to attend Showcase in the future, be sure to sign-up for our eNewsletter for educators so that you can be the first to learn more about this inspiring event.
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