Grandma Moses, born September 7, 1860, was an American folk artist. Most of her life, she lived an agricultural lifestyle in rural Virginia, which in her late 70s became the subject of her landscape paintings. She spent her remaining 20 years at the foot of the easel, paintbrush in hand. She portrayed her farm life just as she chose to experience it, applying colourful paint to illustrate welcoming pastoral scenes until the age of 101.
The Medium’s history dates back to 1968, when we published University of Toronto Mississauga’s, then Erindale College, first student campus paper—The Erindalian. Since then, many things have changed, from fashion styles and printing methods, to what we discuss within the newsprint of our weekly issues. But one thing has remained the same: our desire to try new things.
As a child, Grandma Moses painted landscapes by ingeniously extracting colours from lemon and grape juice, and using materials such as grass, flour paste, and sawdust found in her family’s farmhouse. Even later in life, as a wife, mother, and maid, she continued to be creative, embroidering pictures for friends and family, and quilting blankets for her children.
At 76, Grandma Moses developed arthritis, which strained her ability to continue embroidery. Her sister suggested painting to quench her thirst for the arts.
Over the years, the complexity of our publishing week, and easily accessible excuses, have caused us to, at times, credit ourselves as only a printed media—leaving little space for creativity outside of the written word.
Today, The Medium is 54 years old. As we enter a new publishing year, we look within ourselves and to our creativity to leave a legacy as large as that of Grandma Moses.
61 years after her death, Grandma Moses continues to live through her talent. We grow to wonder how much greater her impact would have been had she started earlier. We wonder, what if we allow ourselves to unlock the most creative, unique, and innovative parts of ourselves? What would The Medium look like long after we leave?
Early this August, our thirteen-membered Editorial team met in the comfort of our brightly lit office on the second floor of the Student Centre. We thought about how we could introduce ourselves to each other while sipping on hot chai and snacking on chocolate-covered almonds. We sat in a circle and painted coasters—each of us coming up with a unique design. Aidan, one of our Copy Editors, painted a fiery Bob Ross style landscape, with strangely-shaped birds adorning the sky. Julia, our Arts & Entertainment Editor, largely wrote her initials surrounded by a dainty floral pattern—making it clear that this coaster was reserved for her hot coffee cup during late-night editing sessions, and no one else with the initials “JS.”
Grandma Moses demonstrates a journey of true, boundless creativity. In our attempts to follow her legacy, season 3 of The Medium/The Message, our podcast, has begun—with a new genuine and heartfelt twist to its episodes. Our videos explore student journalism, as well as the UTM community in all its drama and victories. The two Medium Magazines for the year investigate growth, pain, love, and the individual voice—with magazine launch parties to connect our voices to our community. In addition, we’re continuing columns like From Liz, With Love, while making room for new ones like Changing Leaves. And the Photos section is now accepting illustrations—welcoming your art, new and old, to the warm pages of our publication.
We’ve always known that looking to the future means remembering the past, and to leave a legacy means making the most of our time and resources. Time will continue moving—moments today becoming memories tomorrow. The Medium, in its magical way, affords us the opportunity to capture those moments and forge them into our history for decades to come. Learning from Grandma Moses, we know that creativity will always live long after us, but we define our potential today.
We have a duty to ourselves to produce content for you, our readers, while also continuously being ambitious and limitless. It is our responsibility to ensure that what is happening on campus or within the community is being reported, and to provide you with opportunities to share your own potential. We invite you to create with us, and to hold us accountable in our promises to you. Never feel shy to voice your opinions—we encourage it. The Medium is the living legacy of student journalism, and just as Grandma Moses once said, “Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.”