Participating in art classes was not only a way to create and communicate ideas, but also to connect with others through those ideas. Being a Syrian-Canadian, I deeply believed in the importance of embracing my heritage and supporting my community, but had struggled to navigate the approach to do so. That is why my art class became a sanctuary that allowed me to understand my heritage and build meaningful relationships with a diversity of incredible peers!
However, I knew that there were many people who did not have the encouragement or ability to access arts education and proceeded with less opportunity to express their cultural identity. This prompted me to establish Art For All, a non-profit dedicated to providing accessible art services to ethnically diverse youth in need. From pencil to watercolor projects, I wanted to design an art curriculum ranging from different difficulty levels and highlighting the artistic fundamentals. I had the opportunity to teach art to wonderful youth who had immigrated or taken refuge in Canada in collaboration with the YMCA. With each session, I recognized how students grew more comfortable with each other and were open with their experiences. Understanding how art is a valuable platform for uplifting diverse voices, I have taken the next steps forward by teaching art to communities beyond Canada! Essentially, in Art For All we do not only create art together, we are creating connections.
I believe that with anything you learn, it is important to take leadership in using that learning to create something special. I did not expect that my interest in art would become the route I take in exploring my cultural identity and supporting the cultures of others, which is why I’m grateful I took that chance! Creative approaches are not only fun, but they have the potential to be incredibly impactful.
My message by sharing my story is to strive to further engage in the things you enjoy, and take innovative approaches to create something that can enhance your community!
Also, art is very cool :)