In second year, my creative writing professor told me that it is a common myth that artists work alone, when in fact the most important thing an artist can do is surround themselves with a community of like-minded individuals. As a writer myself, the best thing I ever did was start a writing club so I could interact and share my work with other writers. My club is called the Indie Ryeters (Rye-ters… like writers!! get it?!?!!), and we meet once a week to share our writing and give each other constructive feedback. Being around people who shared my method of creation was important as it has motivated me to keep writing. Support systems are important for anyone in any field, but as someone who is trying to produce artistic work it was so helpful to get constructive feedback from other writers who understood what I was trying to do.
University is the perfect time to seek out a community that shares similar ideas and hobbies as you do. Collaborative learning is important to grow as an artist, so don’t wait until fourth year to find your community like I did. Ryerson has a reputation in Toronto as an artsy school, and these five communities are living proof of that.
The Continuist is an online and print publication run by students in the Faculty of Arts. They publish art and writing for free, giving Ryerson students a voice in the Toronto arts scene. Their past zines (short form for magaZINE) are available on their website, which you can check periodically for the chance to submit your creations!
Hosting photo walks as well as photography workshops, RyePhoto is Ryerson’s photography community. The club’s mandate is to build a professional network of photographers at Ryerson and provide opportunities for them to gain experience. Their Facebook group sometimes features paid opportunities, so check that out if you want to get started on your own visual journey.
Poetic Exchange is Ryerson’s first spoken word poetry group on campus. I helped start this group back in 2014, and it has grown to over 600 members since then! Poetic Exchange hosts workshops and poetry slams featuring special guests and performers from the Toronto poetry scene. In the past, Poetic Exchange has sent a group of poets to compete at CUPSI, the largest university-level poetry competition in the United States. This year they’ll be representing Ryerson for the first time ever at the National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado!
The Ryerson Folio Magazine is Ryerson’s general interest magazine, made up of students from all faculties at Ryerson. This magazine is living proof of the creative talent brewing out of our campus. I’m particularly fond of their fiction section as well as their idea section. They publish a yearly print issue as well as weekly issues online, and are always looking for contributors!
One of Ryerson’s largest student groups, Musicians@Ryerson is the hub for all musicians, regardless of genre. Their weekly open mic nights at the Ram in the Rye, Ryerson’s on-campus pub, foster a welcoming music community on campus. They host various events throughout the year as well, such as workshops, an annual Battle of the Bands competition, and even FREE music lessons!
If you didn’t see a community that aligned with your art style, remember that you can always start your own group at Ryerson! That’s what I did when I helped create Poetic Exchange. If you think Ryerson is lacking in one area, don’t be afraid to go out and create change.
Feature Photo: Daniel Maluka