Creative expression not thwarted by pandemic

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

A pandemic is not stopping creativity in Canal Winchester.

Canal Winchester High School students and staff are going virtual in presenting projects showcasing a variety of talents from traditional to the more applied arts.

Starting the week of Oct. 19, projects will be posted online through the Performing Arts Department website at cwperformingarts.info, providing a virtual outlet for the community at large.

The list of categories include business, performing arts, programming, video production, visual arts, world languages and written word. There is also a category for high school staff members to submit their creative work.

“The last six months have wrecked our souls,” said Canal Winchester High School music teacher Todd Phillips. “We all just want to feel normal again. The creative arts are the guide. We believe in the healing power of the arts. In talking to some of the staff members, we were all saddened that so many of our students didn’t get to do their traditional ‘end-of-year’ projects, concerts, musical, art show, etc. We spoke to the administration about this idea of an on-line gallery and they were completely behind the project.”

Phillips said it is human nature to run to those things that soothe in times of trial and an art project can be any kind of creative outlet. He is pleased with the variety of work submitted for the Creative Arts Expo.

“While we’re teaching our students how the arts can help them deal with a tough situation, we also want them to know that as artists, we have a responsibility to use our skills to heal others,” said Phillips, who added there are slightly more entries in the visual arts category, with the performing arts running a close second. “Our goal has always been to open our students’ view of what is an artistic expression and help them channel the emotional impact of the last six months into some type of positive work.”

When asked about staff response to participating, Phillips said many were hesitant at first and questioned whether they had anything of value to display. However, after conversations about art as an honest endeavor and submissions not judged in comparison with others, many of them came around.

“We really appreciate everyone’s involvement in the project,” said Phillips. “It is a bit of a stretch for some of our students, and faculty, but we believe the end goal of using the arts to manage this time in our lives is bringing us together to heal and move forward.”

The coronavirus has impacted the performing arts at Canal Winchester in terms of in-person events. Phillips said the school’s public performances for this semester were altered and completely put on hold and students will be doing more virtual concerts, etc. through the end of the semester.

“We suggest people look at the school website at cwschools.org, and our performing arts website for updates to that calendar,” said Phillips. “Second semester is still a bit up in the air. It is certainly our goal to return to our normal music and theater productions. At this point, it’s difficult to make exact predictions how or when those will happen, but we are planning Option A, B, C….thank goodness there are 26 letters in the alphabet.”

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