Angry Arts Week at BU

Angry? Artsy? This is your week to shine. (Facebook / Angry Arts Week)

March 18th to March 22nd is Angry Arts Week, a time for anyone, artistic or otherwise, to “create art expressing anger about social and political issues to create dialogue around the problems so we can find solutions.”

Inspired by the 1960s event organized by a flock of radical artists based out of the Lower East Side in New York, Angry Arts Week was created to challenge participants to use art as a constructive outlet to spark dialogue on political and social subjects and catalyze social change.

“Art is a healthy way to express negative emotions and makes things easier to talk about,” said Brandon University student and organizer Catherine Forest. “My idea was to open up the doors for anyone who may feel helpless, frustrated or angry about social and political issues to use art to let go of those emotions, open up discussion and debate and hopefully come up with some solutions we can work toward.”

Beginning on Monday, March 18th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, students will have the opportunity to write/draw with sidewalk chalk in the courtyard, space pending. What about the snow, you ask? “Our back up for that will be writing in the snow with a colorant to the same effect as the chalk, still in the courtyard.”

Relieve your stress productively on Tuesday, March 19th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm by breaking dishes in the courtyard! “To avoid any mess or risk of injury, we will use potato bags so that the action of smashing stays the same.”

From 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on Wednesday, March 20th, enjoy some splendidly soothing snow sculpting in the courtyard…and some invigorating snow sculpture smashing! “There is something therapeutic about physically expressing anger, so we figure as long as it’s safe and the student feels better after, why not?”

All truly entertaining art involves throwing paint. Agreed? Agreed. On Friday, March 22nd from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, “students will have the chance to throw paint on large canvases,” said Forest. The location has yet to be determined as of writing. (Just follow the paint spatters.)

Similar to last year, Forest said there will be also “rant sheets” on walls in the Mingling Area on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the aforementioned time slots. The sheets previously posed thought-provoking questions like “What issues in society do you want to change?”, and while there were those who did not take the exercise seriously last year, others contributed very positively, bringing to light frustrating topics like the 11-week semester length, the loss of the Wheat Board which was lamented as “soon to be the loss of Canadian identity,” the stereotypes of Aboriginal people, women’s rights, and “how society revolves around the almighty dollar.”

As if the week could get any more deliciously fun, Forest and her team of fellow Brandon University students are borrowing a button-maker from the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba to enable students to fashion their own Angry Arts Week pin buttons in the Mingling Area. Forest is also excited about the potential for an after-dark round dance with glow sticks for the Idle No More Movement.

Everyone is encouraged to participate, regardless of their level of artistic ability and the supplies in their possession.

“Any media is acceptable, from visual arts to creative writing, performance, photography, music—whatever people can think of to creatively express themselves,” Forest said. “Any work created for the event by students and non-students can be displayed in the curve gallery in the library,” she says, or you can upload it to the Angry Arts Week Facebook page.

Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 103, Issue 25, March 19, 2013.