Photo of multi-coloured paintbrushes

9 Ways to Get Creative On and Off-Campus

The University of Toronto and the city of Toronto offer an abundance of opportunities to tap into your creative side. Studies have shown that expressing creativity can help calm stress, reduce depression, improve self-esteem and many other health and wellness benefits. All of the pressures of academia don’t leave a lot of spare time for creative activities, but it’s important to take an hour or so a week to de-stress! Below is a list I’ve compiled of ways to get creative on and off-campus. Did you know Hart House offers free classes for U of T students? Hart House’s spotlight offers spoken word, cabaret performances and student playwriting competitions. (Click here for more information on U of T Spotlight) For a small fee, Hart House also offers classes such as black and white film photography and development, learning to talk like a TED speaker, movie making 101 and acting classes. In addition, U of T’s Festival of Dance is upcoming in April. This event features a wide variety of dances and styles, ranging from Irish and hip-hop to Egyptian belly dancing. Tickets are $10 for students, and more information can be found by clicking here. Photo of a ballerina dancer Maybe you don’t want to express yourself but like listening to others. If so, this week kicks off the 2018 Toronto Storytelling Festival, and the Native Canadian Centre If Toronto is hosting the Indigenous Storytelling Gathering this Wednesday from 7:00-9:00pm. (For more information about the 2018 Toronto Storytelling Festival, click here)  Want to learn Indigenous beading techniques? Learn to make jewellry, moccasins and other Indigenous crafts by e-mailing and joining the listserv for upcoming events! Photo of bead loom with Navajo-style beading U of T also has two art galleries on campus, and this upcoming Friday, March 23rd will have an opening reception for the exhibition of the graduating projects of the 2017 Master of Visual Studies. “Produced in the shadow of Canada’s controversial 150th anniversary, this year’s graduate students directed their attention to historically based research that critiques our ideas of nationalism.” The reception takes place from 7:00-9:00pm at the University of Toronto Art Centre. If you don’t have time to attend classes beyond your regular ones, SkillShare offers free online classes in various creative techniques, such as drawing, watercolour painting, poetry writing, etc. (Click here for free creativity classes) Want to learn drums, guitar, banjo or piano? The Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music offers drop-in group classes for as little as $17, or private lessons from $40. (Click here for more information on TIFEM) Photo of piano sheet music book with Easy As A B C as the title How about rounding up a group of friends and heading over to PaintLounge? They offer guided projects and supply all materials to help you create a masterpiece! Tasty refreshments are also served at their cafe/bar, and they offer classes from beginner to advanced. Students get 10% off! (Click here for more information on PaintLounge) Photo of multi-coloured paintbrushes As a creative individual, I try to carve out time and space for my art. While this is a difficult balance with academia, taking an hour or so a week to engage with something outside of school is super important to my health and well-being. I hope you find something that gets your creative juices flowing. Take care of yourself. The chaos is almost over!

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