Frank Speaks with Artist
Louise Campbell About Education, Art, Wellness, and Listening

by Frank Caracciolo

The most recent episode of The Blank Canvas with Frank Caracciolo is out now. Released on October 31st, the episode features a conversation with educator, artist, and musician Louise Campbell about art, wellness and listening amongst other topics. We have partially transcribed the episode to give you a sample of their conversation.

Frank Caracciolo: And can you tell us a little bit about your approach with Wellness and how it relates to your art or the arts in general?

Louise Campbell: Well, I think the arts play a huge role in people’s wellness in general because the arts is really about people getting to know themselves better, expressing themselves and connecting with other people.

I really feel strongly that it’s a very great way for people to support their own Wellness, and that’s not necessarily to say that it has to be, you know, deep and profound all the time. It can just be plain fun.

Artist Louise Campbell, photo by Vivian Doan

You know, so it can be really something about the joy of following an artistic process over it can go into, you know, pretty deep, meaningful issues that students are really concerned with. For myself, a lot of my creative process has to do with, you know, where I am right now and where the students are.

If I’m walking into a room and everybody is super super, super hyper, I have the choice of proposing something that is at that energy level, or if it’s a little too much to find a way to kind of bring people down a little bit and focus and center a bit.

To give you an example, one of my favourite exercises that I do is a really basic listening exercise and elementary schools especially can be very noisy places, and I think sometimes we get into the habit of competing with that noise, instead of actually listening to what’s going on. So I’ll ask students to sit quietly for two minutes, and the idea is to not speak, but to notice all the sounds that are around them.  And those two minutes, It’s really quite phenomenal if there’s a lot of sound that’s going on, there’s a beautiful symphony of sound that is happening already, and each of the students hears their own version of that.

Frank Caracciolo

And so, some students may be really hooked into the sounds that people make. Others may be much more into the natural sounds: the birds outside the windows. Others might be really into the building kind of noises, so it’s a really interesting way to get people to just calm, center, notice what’s going on, and then share their unique perspective and just that one simple thing, regardless of what the artistic activity is afterwards, I find helps to really just calm things down a little bit and put the focus on listening, which to me is the core skill of music and in addition to that has some really great effects for just our own sense of wellness.
Hear the complete episode at on your favourite podcast player or by clicking here.

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