First-year Studio Arts student at Concordia University, member of the Fine Arts Student Alliance, the FASA Board of Directors, and the Concordia Film Festival
Jennifer is a first-year Studio Arts student at Concordia University involved in the Fine Arts Student Alliance, the FASA Board of Directors, and the Concordia Film Festival. She received the 2018 Arts & Culture Award after being nominated by her guidance counselor, Toula Makris. Jennifer remembers the awards as a very special moment. “It wasn’t just an award to me. It was a formal encouragement to continue what I’m doing - seeing that I can actually make a difference in the community,” she told us.
The bursary she received with the award encouraged Jennifer to apply to Concordia, using the money for tuition and materials for her studio classes. In Montreal, Jennifer has fully immersed herself in the art scene. “Attending Concordia University with the bursary money has enabled me to meet so many artists and community leaders, and it has opened up opportunities for networking and collaboration.”
Knowing that there are organizations that recognize youth encouraged Jennifer to use her power as a young person to spark change. Sharing her story through the arts piqued an interest in expressive arts therapy and its use in treatment for mental illness. Since then, she has worked on several education projects around the stigma and misconceptions of eating disorders.
Receiving the award broadened Jennifer’s perception of art as a form of community service. She uses her art to raise awareness for mental illness and eating disorders, with which she herself has struggled. “My work is very personal as a way of opening up a dialogue for conversations about mental illness. It connects with the audience on a personal level and makes them not feel ashamed of their own struggles.”