I was fortunate to have $20 to get into the 21st Spring Gala yesterday night. Amidst all the wonderfully cheeky, geeky humour, the buzzword during the show was, undoubtedly, talent. I suspect that the word “talent” would have been use with the same frequency even if all the acts had bombed. Happily, all acts left the stage unscathed – if anything, with egos properly inflated.
However impressed I was with the acts (and elated at the piano bashing deceivingly disguised by the name “toccata”) I was happy to see how many of our colleagues enjoy the arts. Many of the performers displayed skills that betrayed a more steady, long-standing practice than a simple attempt at a one-hit wonder to impress at the gala. Now I’ll be honest – I’m no performer. I fear an episode of painful stage-fright would likely be my best contribution to the gala. But from my tiny corner of the art “world” I know that the joy of an art is in its practice – in what some of us like to call “the process”. What you “feel” in a finished painting is only a fraction of the experience the painter had when making it. It is a summary of mistakes, of learning, of discovering, and of taking chances.
I could say a lot about the benefits of the arts to the practice of medicine. But coming from me, a neophyte in the world of medicine, such a discussion would carry a large proportion of dishonesty aimed at convincing you that I commit 100% of my time to medicine. The only reason I paint is that I have “an itch”. This leads to why I am excited about this website, a continuation of the Art As Adjuvant project. The Faculty of Medicine already sees a lot of great work done by students and faculty to promote the sharing and enjoyment of the arts through contests, events, and joint outings. This website, I believe, adds to those efforts by creating a place in which people can share their “itch” – their personal practice and exploration of the arts – outside of formal events and, more importantly, use their itch to reflect on their experiences on this road we’re all on.