Access to Arts Important for all Ages
Ben Redant, 40, has been in the arts for as long as he can remember. He recalls playing the piano at age 5, and he has been playing ever since. Surrounded by creative, artistic people, including his parents, Redant found art as a means to express himself beyond words. He believes arts and creativity are fundamental parts of the human experience that everyone – particularly children and youth should enjoy.
“Arts and creativity provides the freedom to express oneself in a manner beyond simply the things one says and does in their day-to-day life,” he explains. “It permits one to say and portray things that they could not say otherwise.”
Redant studied Fine Arts in Acting at the University of Regina. He currently works at Long & McQuade where he teaches music lessons to many kids, including those funded through Creative Kids. While Redant never planned to be an educator, he says he is enjoying the experience.
“I really enjoy teaching kids, and I am always surprised by their talent, hard work, and sometimes brilliance as artists,” he says. “I like exposing young people to art and a deeper understanding of it, which they might not otherwise have access to, and then guiding them through a process by which they may discover that they, too, are capable of making their own art and expressing their own feelings.”
“The freedom to make and enjoy art must not be portioned out only to the privileged, and art must be made accessible to all.”
Apart from being an educator, Redant also works freelance as a musician, performer, and musical director. He mostly identifies himself with classical music, the paintings of the masters, and theatre. “I will always have an enjoyment of theatre, and the ability to collaborate with others to tell a story. The opportunity to inspire any number of feelings is very powerful,” he says. “It is an amazingly potent feeling to touch someone’s heart with art.”
When asked what he thought about supporting kids’ participation in the arts, Redant says that it is important to make arts accessible to everyone.
“The freedom to make and enjoy art must not be portioned out only to the privileged, and art must be made accessible to all,” he says. “No adult ever regrets the time spent making art and learning the skills involved in artistic creation, but there are many who regret never having been given that chance.”
He goes on further to add that people can encourage kids in the arts through financial support, encouragement, and through inspiration – making sure they have access to inspiring art, and helping them develop the discipline and ability to grow as artists.