Local Theatre Company Showcasing Young Artists Online

By Chiara Zussino

An original digital character design by Mylo Wirtz, age 13

“We have simply traded one stage for another,“ says Marcia Arpin, the director and founder of All the Daze Productions, when asked why she decided to host a virtual art gallery. In pre-COVID times, All the Daze Productions hosted live theatrical performances that the public was invited to attend. However, due to current restrictions this became no longer possible and much like many other organizations, All the Daze chose to creatively adapt and appeal to their audience in new ways.

“All the Daze Productions represents a large community of creative youth ages 7 to 25. When it became increasingly difficult to produce live theatre productions, I knew there needed to be a way to reunite and express our individual ideas and emotions and continue to develop our collective imagination,” Arpin says, adding that when producing past musical productions, the actors were always encouraged to design things like posters and props, and to paint sets. “As an educator not only am I able to encourage these skills and help to develop them, but I know from personal experience during COVID isolation the importance of having a creative outlet emotionally.” Arpin adds that the virtual art gallery “evolved from the actors’ desire to showcase them[selves] in a new way. Using our website and social media instantly gave a stage for their work and an audience.”

The community’s response to the online gallery has been overwhelmingly positive, Arpin says.

Although it began exclusively featuring All the Daze actors, it has since wholeheartedly welcomed submissions from children as young as six months old up to age 18. And Arpin says that’s just the beginning. “In April, we will open our gallery to include literary art and host a YouTube channel for singing, dance, and theatre,” she says. “Each of these creative communities is making the wait for the return of live theatre a little easier and helping maintain the relationships the youth have with each other, themself, and their ability to express their thoughts.” Arpin adds that, due to the quality and popularity of the works that have been published online so far, a selection of it is also slated to be exhibited at Gallery 33 in May.

It is evident that the youth who are participating in this gallery are gleaning much from this experience and appreciate the opportunity to share their art with others. Many have used it as an outlet to convey their emotions during this difficult time. Mattéa Knibbs shares in her artist’s statement that “I have always been infatuated by the beauty of art. The way someone can express themselves in different ways and have other people see it without it being explained. I like sharing my art to make other people feel happy.” Mylo Wirtz adds that “I’ve always used art as an escape and a way to express my creativity without feeling any pressure.”

You can find this art gallery online at allthedaze.ca. The artwork is frequently updated so be sure to check in often.