Written by DAREarts Teachers Geneviève Anthony and Valerie Kostyniuk.
Photo courtesy Geneviève Anthony.
Unity of the Arts
Friday was Architecture Day with our Grade 5 West delegates. We spent the day at BAPS Temple, a Hindu Mandir in North Etobicoke, first touring the building with our excellent guide Mr. Patel, and then completing an art activity decorating replicas of the façades of various Baroque-style buildings from around the world using Baroque-style features such as columns, arches and domes.
Two notable observations about Friday were the delegates’ incredible focus and their unwavering respectful behaviour. From the bus lesson about the basic tenants of various religions practiced in Canada and elsewhere, through the tour, through the art activity, delegates focused on what they were learning, asked thoughtful and important questions, and treated everyone with respect. Several of the delegates attend BAPS Temple regularly with their families, and these students took on a leadership role at the Mandir, explaining much of what we saw on the tour to their classmates and teachers. The others, many of who had contributed thoughts and information about their own religions during the bus lesson, listened to their classmates. The day was especially relevant and interesting to the delegates because it included learning about what is present in their own communities.
One of the organizing words for the DAREarts Grade 5 Architecture lesson is multiculturalism. The delegates know that the promises of multiculturalism are a work in progress. Programs like DAREarts are necessary because kids in many communities across Canada struggle with the low-expectations and lack of access embedded in Canadian society. Another organizing phrase for the lesson is Unity of the Arts. This is a phrase used to describe how in Baroque architecture, landscaping, carving, painting, fabric design, lighting design, music and many other arts come together to form an overwhelmingly affecting whole. We saw Unity of the Arts at BAPS Temple. Incredibly intricate hand-carved walls and pillars worked together with the broader design of domes and arches and the clothing worn by the deities as the soft recorded music filling the space overwhelmed the senses with wonder and calm. The Grade 5 West delegates were focused, and they learned.