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For Amber Wilson, Vice-President of Internal Affairs with the McMaster Humanities Society, art is a huge part of her life — and everyone else’s. “There’s art everywhere. I know it’s corny, but there is,” the fourth year Philosophy student said.
The universality of art is something Art Matters Week aims to draw attention to. A collaboration between the MHS and Humanities SRA members, Art Matters Week offers a variety of free events for students in all faculties to enjoy. “This year we’ve really opened it up to the whole school, which is really important so we’ve changed the focus from humanities to art and the arts,” Wilson explained.
Running from Mar. 7 to 11, Art Matters Week is made up of a diverse array of activities and events. These include a panel discussion involving a member of each faculty explaining how they use art in their teaching, workshops led by Humanities-affiliated clubs, an arts alumni mixer and a wine and cheese night at the McMaster Museum of Art. Wilson and the Art Matters Week planning team hope these events will appeal to students in all faculties.
Wilson is most excited for the events of Mar. 11, however. Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. the MUSC Atrium will be transformed into an art gallery. “We have students from all faculties submitting their art. We’re bringing Art Crawl to us. So we’ll have tables set up with Mac student art and at the same time the Jazz Ensemble and the Flute Ensemble will be playing,” she said, adding that student art submissions are welcome until Mar. 10.
The exhibit will also feature Robbie J, a well-known live painter. “He’s going to bring all of his materials and you can just come and watch him paint … In his ‘artist’s requirements’ he said it’s required that he have a fun atmosphere. So however whatever’s going inspires him, he’s going to put it into that piece. And then he’s going to be donating that piece to us.”
This year marks a new chapter for Art Matters Week. In the past, the week had a minimal presence on campus. Events were sparse and quiet, the highlight being a coffeehouse at Bridges. “Gauging interest is what we’re trying to do this year, so if people are excited about it, we’re just going to keep making it bigger,” Wilson explained.
She added that she was inspired to revamp the event after giving a campus tour. “One of the parents of the tour I was giving asked if I liked living in Hamilton … There’s so much culture in Hamilton and a lot of people don’t realize it.” As this is the first year the events have been planned to have a greater reach on campus, most of the events are tied to McMaster. However, Art Crawl and other off-campus events will also be promoted throughout the week.
Wilson hopes the events will entice students to look at all the ways art factors into their lives and the Hamilton community at large. “People don’t realize how amazing the arts community is in Hamilton … it’s just sitting there and it’s waiting to be realized.”