What is all the hype about “community” anyway?

Community feels like a buzzword these days. Everywhere you turn someone is inviting you to join their community: brands, influencers and the corner coffee shop. Communities bring people together through shared experiences and values. As the world becomes more complex and difficult to navigate, we search for places where we belong, matter and feel genuinely appreciated.


Today in Ontario lockdown restrictions begin to lift (yet again) and the studio reopens for in-person lessons and classes (cue cheering). It only seems fitting to write a post about community today. I am so grateful for this incredible community and I am so proud of how this community has shifted and pivoted over the past two years, remaining focused and determined to pursue arts education at the highest level despite the twists and turns of the world. The beauty of it all is that our community has expanded to include international students from Spain and Switzerland, which was only made possible by the adoption of virtual learning. We have remained connected and we continue to grow, learn and celebrate each other’s successes. What we have here at Donais Studios is very special. 


As artists, we need a meaningful community to thrive. A supportive and nurturing community is integral to positive and impactful artistic and performance experiences. I believe wholeheartedly that art is meant to be shared within a community.


We often study, practice and create our art in a silo. It can be a lonely venture at times. However, in order to fully realize the transformative power of the arts we must engage in an artistic community. The impact of a community can be powerful. The Donais Studios community is no accident. The building of this community has been intentional with a strong desire to create a warm, inviting and inspiring place for youth and adults of all ages and levels of experience to ignite, discover and share the artist within.


Internationally acclaimed author and coach Tony Robbins suggests that there are six core human needs that drive our actions, emotions and motivations. These needs are: certainty (safety and security), uncertainty/variety, significance, connection/love, growth and contribution. (1)


I believe that our community respects, honours and nurtures these six core human needs in a positive and fulfilling way. Here’s how.

  1. Safety & Certainty. Our community is a trusted and safe place to take risks and practice performance skills. We provide a consistent presence on your artistic journey to ensure steady growth and development with encouragement, nurturing of the individual artist and productive feedback. We provide a comfortable environment that empowers the artist and their skill set. 
  2. Variety. We provide an opportunity to explore a variety of artforms, artistic goals and experiences. There are a variety of personalities, interests and passions within our studio and we love it! We encourage the study of a variety of genres, mediums and styles. Variety is the spice of life! Variety keeps things interesting, exciting and most importantly – enjoyable. Adventure makes us feel alive. 
  3. Significance. Your voice matters here. Your progress and successes are recognized, appreciated and celebrated. Your uniqueness is cherished. Your presence and what you offer this community is valued.
  4. Connection. Our shared experiences, emotions and values create a greater sense of connection and belonging. Art allows us to express our emotions, communicate authentically and think critically, which connects us on a deeper level. Art speaks to our intellect, emotions, intuition, imagination, memory, physical senses, and universal truths – connecting us in a truly unique way.
  5. Growth. Having a community to share your artistic journey with expands your understanding, capacity and growth potential. Arts education encourages self-awareness, authentic communication and engages critical thinking: skills that impact all areas of your life. 
  6. Contribution. Through performance experiences and community events, we support one another and give back through our artistry. Contribution builds compassion, empathy and abundance. Contribution gives life meaning. 


When we look at these six core human needs, it is clear that an arts community has the potential to connect to and fulfill (at least in part) our core needs in a deep and meaningful way. 


I love this testimonial from one of our beautiful students, Kailey.


“I have been singing at Donais Studios for a little over a year now. Being involved in their choir, community activities, concerts and experiencing the warmth and reassurance from my fellow performers in our monthly coffee houses has boosted my confidence beyond belief. As someone that struggled with anxiety in social situations, Andrea’s encouraging small steps and the amazing support of the Donais community has had a positive effect in my life, especially at school and with friends. Music is a strong passion of mine and the members and staff at Donais Studios share a similar passion that has provided the confidence to share my voice even beyond the studio!”

To experience the true transformative power of the arts, you need a community. We have a pretty amazing community here at Donais Studios. A community of highly skilled artists who genuinely care about the success of their fellow artists. The shared artistic journey provides connection, significance and confidence in a truly remarkable way. 


Thank you for being a part of this community. You are truly appreciated.



Andrea “here for the community” Donais

(1) Tony Robbins: https://www.tonyrobbins.com/mind-meaning/why-you-are-the-way-you-are/

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