Ordinary art on the street

Students, professors and residents band together to rally behind everyday art

Jessica Hallis, Johanna Lawrie and Ryan LaPlante are part of “Art is Your Story” a guerilla art project aimed at getting people performing and talking about art in the community in light of the upcoming election.
Jessica Hallis, Johanna Lawrie and Ryan LaPlante are part of “Art is Your Story” a guerilla art project aimed at getting people performing and talking about art in the community in light of the upcoming election.

Think about the last time you encountered art—it probably wasn’t very long ago.

In response to Stephen Harper’s comments about art only having a place amongst the upper echelons of society, local students, artists and professors— all ordinary citizens—want to remind everyone that art belongs everywhere and is for everyone.

Over the next two weeks, “Art is Your Story” will hit the streets of Kingston. The project, launched by Julie Salverson, professor of drama and students Ryan LaPlante, Marianne Vander Dussen, Johanna Lawrie and Jessica Hallis, is an attempt to get discussion about art to the forefront.

In order to accomplish this, the group is encouraging everybody and anybody to go out in the community and make art, in all and any of its forms, publically, while holding a sign saying “Art is Your Story.” On Oct. 5, artists will meet at Market Square and go out into Kingston from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to do their various art-inspired things. Oct. 7 and 9 are also slated for these activities, but with no formal meeting time. Finally, artists will spread the art love on campus just in time for Election Day on Oct. 14.

In town, the group has touched down with potters, painters, engineers, writers, actors and many others. The idea is that anything from reading a story aloud in public to arguing over a film with a friend in a pub is part of it.

Public performers are encouraged to take photos of their creative public pursuits and send them in to artisyourstory.wordpress.com

It’s a sort of guerilla approach but with very basic intentions.

“We’re inviting everybody and anybody. I’m saying it’s fast and fun and furious,” Salverson said.

The group have also made contact with people in Montreal, Halifax, Stratford and Toronto who will be pursuing similar efforts in the coming days and weeks leading up the election.

“We’re trying to reiterate the fact that art is for everybody. There are so many various facets people can identify with,” Jessica Hallis, Drama DSC executive and ArtSci ‘09, said.

“People get caught up in the idea of formal art,” she said.

“My dad who is a businessman goes home and plays guitar.”

Though activist and politically-inspired, the group wishes to keep intentions open.

“We’re not telling anyone what to do,” Lawrie, another Drama DSC executive and ArtSci ‘09 said.

The group wants to use this moment where government and art are colliding on the newswires to encourage a closer examination of art in our society as well as curb apathy on campus.

“Culture is key to Canadian identity. It helps tell our stories,” LaPlante, ArtSci ‘10, said.

“I think there’s a link between art and life.

“Art and culture have always been defining parts of society, to lose that would be a tragedy.”

Please see artisyourstory.wordpress.com for more information.

Guerilla art goes down on Oct. 5 at 10 a.m., meeting at Market Square. Other days include Oct. 7 and 9 and Election day, Oct. 14.

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