LSA isn’t just art. We are a community.

It isn’t just art. 

To explain how I feel I may need to tell you some of what I have seen at Lakeshore Arts and a little about me.

I went to the opening of an exhibit at Lakeshore Arts which saw grade 8 students stand up in front of a group of mostly strangers to express their stories in poetry and photography. I was struck by their ability to communicate, to be heard and to tell stories of their lives. (stories which were sometimes painful and heartbreaking) 

I marvel at the support they found in the program, their poise, their confidence and their ability to come to grips with what they’ve been through and tell their stories so effectively.    

I am sure much of that came from the program.

It made me think of me at that age. 

I was very shy, didn’t have a lot of confidence and didn’t talk a lot. I was afraid nobody would listen. 

When I was in grade 11 our high school introduced a theatre arts class. We did various exercises including some aimed at developing our vocal power. 

I would have been an average student at best but for some reason the teacher decided I should have the lead role in a school play. I still don’t understand what he saw in me. 

I was going through a transformation. I had learned to project my voice, to speak loudly enough so people could hear and understand me. I noticed that, finally, people were actually listening. The key to easing my angst was as simple as learning to speak in a way that it was possible for people to hear me. It is simple but made a huge difference in my confidence and my life. It even led to a long and happy career in radio and television. (It’s a good thing because I don’t think I was the brightest kid and sure wasn’t destined for rocket science)

It isn’t just art, it’s community and it’s an important part of it,

especially if it can help these teens come to grips with what they’ve been through, to talk about it so effectively and create something so positive, so meaningful.

It has bigger benefits. The program helped these young people express and work through their issues. Dealing with them now could even mean much less need for therapy or other high-priced cures if those issues aren’t dealt with. 

Yeah, it could even save some money in policing or health care or more

BUT – Most important – Think how much better these people are going to feel about themselves and how much we are going to benefit from their newly found sense of self and their positive input to their own lives as well as ours.

It isn’t just art – It’s community! 

About the Author

Bob Summers spent over 40 years in radio and television doing everything from a music show to news and traffic reporting. He’s also done some teaching and, prior to working in media, had jobs with a construction company, the post office, a children’s restaurant and even had his own cookie company.

Bob has lived in Mimico for about 26 years and loves it. He supports not only the Etobicoke Community Concert Band but other groups including Lakeshore Arts. He believes their art isn’t just art, it’s a community. They have many programs including one that enables grade 8 students to learn to express themselves through poetry and photography. Bob identifies with the power of such programs. It was a theatre arts class many years ago that opened a path to Bob learning to communicate better as an individual and actually led to a long and happy career. 

As we thank you for your support of the band and its music we also thank you for your support of the arts and what they can do for the community.