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Talents of Innisdale art students shine at RVH

The healing power of their creativity is on display through December

Students at Innisdale's Integrated Arts program are teaming up with the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre to launch an art exhibit titled "From the Ground Up."

The title is a metaphorical acknowledgement of every patient's journey from the moment of diagnosis along the path through healing.

Twenty-five students attended a ceremony at the health centre to kick off the event in front of a crowd of school officials, proud parents and patients.

The exhibit features art, sculpture and today in the atrium, music and dance.

"It really is a wow moment. Such incredible talent. The pieces are engaging, uplifting and of course they're very inspirational," said Janice Skot, RVH President and CEO.

The Art@RVH program is aimed at creating a soothing environment for patients. 

The stories of four people inspired the Innisdale students to create this work.

One of those people is Nicole Marchand, a former Innisdale Integrated Arts Student, who at the age of 28 was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. 

Marchand attended the ceremony with her husband Derek.

She beamed as she watched students do a music and dance performance and said she was honoured to be there. 

"It's inspirational and healing and I love everything it stands for. There's always good days and bad and today is a good day mainly because I get to be a part of this."

The art exhibit includes a sculpture of a shedding dandelion pod in the courtyard, a wave of poetry on the corridor windows, and paintings hanging along the hall.

Jessica Ierullo, contributed a cloud and a water piece. 

"A light can shine through and you can have a better life," said Ierullo of their art. 

Fellow student Julia Ruscio has never personally been affected by the disease but found performing at the hospital an emotional experience.

"Being able to dance in this area when you know all the things that are going on, all the things that people are going through. We're dancing for them," Ruscio said. 

Dancer Hailey Hamlin says her best friend's mother was diagnosed with cancer.

"Now I know how it feels and it was really nice being able to dance for someone and wanting to do it for that reason."

Integrated Arts teachers Chris Taylor and Jennica Hwang proudly looked on as their students performed.

"The Integrated Arts program fosters creativity in its broadest sense. It's the only course of its kind in Simcoe County," Taylor told the crowd.

"Our hope is that you will reminded of your own stories, and your own loved ones and of the hope RVH provides to those on their path of healing," added Hwang.

The art and sculpture will be on display through December in the Corridor Gallery.


Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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