Tag Archives: community arts

underneath it all

the universe calls our attention in the simplest of ways

a kitchen tile

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I just moved to a new town and it is magical – infused with art and nature. I came with a strong intention of healing. I am more and more curious about the importance of interdependence and intentional community in this healing process. And the way that involvement in community arts can play a key role in healing for self and community.

I look forward to sharing some projects that are exploring these themes in the next couple blog posts.

thanks for reading,
j


change in a time of transition

I recently moved to Vancouver.  

It’s a pretty big transition!  As my friend and amazing artist Karlee Dawn Weisgerber says “When one door closes, another opens. But meanwhile – it’s hell in the hallway!”  If you want to see a bit of the landscape I left behind, visit Karlee’s website  — she captures the prairie skies with an open heart!

I left behind a lovely life to make a new one in a strange city.  I know a few great people. I am doing yoga (click on the link to see an video called ’80’s week: the yoga terminator. just for a second! just for a laugh!). And walking, reading, and felting.  Oh and the beach!  It is nice too!  I joined the Community Arts Council of Vancouver to see what the community arts scene is all about – lots of neat things happening.

Making art can really help to work through and just be okay with transition.  At this point, my art supplies have not yet arrived and I don’t even seem to have any pencils or pens with me  – but I have so many ideas for new paintings and projects!  Images keep floating through my mind and I can’t wait to put them to canvas and really get into wet-felting.

Meanwhile, I find inspiration in these projects:

 Art for Refugees in Transition : “helps rebuild individual and community identity for refugees worldwide. Drawing upon the indigenous art forms of each community, A.R.T.’s programs are designed to enable the elders of a culture to educate and incorporate the younger generation in their cultural traditions. By developing self-sustaining curricula and training programs, A.R.T. engages children and adults in visual, performing and creative arts drawn from their own cultures. These activities provide local and international relief institutions with tools to help refugee communities cope with the trauma, terror and dislocation of war and natural disaster.” Started in 1999. Happens in places like Thailand, Colombia, and the USA.  Not sure if it is still happening.

Before I Die:  With help from friends and neighbors, I turned the side of an abandoned house in my neighborhood into a giant chalkboard to invite people to share what is important to them. Before I Die transforms a neglected space into a constructive one where we can learn the hopes and aspirations of the people around us. If you’re in New Orleans, stop by the corner of Marigny and Burgundy (900 Marigny Street) to add your thoughts to the wall and discover what matters most to your neighbors. It’s a question that changed me over the last year after I lost someone I loved very much. I also believe the design of our public spaces can better reflect what’s important to us as residents and as human beings.” A project by artist Candy Chang and the community of New Orleans.

There seems to be this comment that gets thrown at me every few months — “art is just for the rich. If you are poor, what do you care about art? You are (or should be) more concerned with survival”.  To me, this argument ignores the joyful and creative spirit that resides in each of us.  It censors self-expression by tying it to capitalist ideals. I never know quite what to say.

But the projects I post on this blog are a testament to this fact: people find a way to make art no matter where they are and no matter what others think they should or shouldn’t be doing with their time/energy.  And I am grateful for their heart-felt work in my time of transition.

Expect a few blog posts throughout the summer but I will mostly be settling in and exploring. I will be back in September with all kinds of gloriousness and probably a bit of a focus on art therapy as I will be studying it for the next 15 months!

Peace out, 

jkl 

 


World Community Arts Day! Today!

Don’t forget — today is World Community Arts Day – Art as a Catalyst for Caring and Sharing.

Make some art!  Share it with your friends, family, and community!  Send some love out to the universe and eachother.

Today, I stood outside with a group of awesome and committed individuals concerned about social justice and homelessness in Saskatchewan and specifically Regina.

1% Home Sweet Home,  a collaborative effort by individuals and over seven organizations, was created to raise awareness about the low vacancy rate in Regina (1%)  and the cost of housing in relation to our wages.  It was freezing!!  And, in a way, the weather kicked it up a notch to really prove the point – everyone needs a warm, dry safe place to live – don’t they?

Photo credit:  Prairie Dog Mag

The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Regina is $802.  If you are on social assistance, that is 93% of your cheque!  If you work at a minimum wage job, 73% of your income will go towards that $802 apartment and food.

Creator and photo credit: Gerry Ruecker

As a teenager,  I was both kicked out of and voluntarily left my parent’s house (a few times).  I always had a place to stay and have always been grateful to those people who let me stay with them.  I never thought of myself as homeless but I guess that couchsurfing is a form of homelessness.  My experience has given me an understanding of how it can happen and compassion for those who are experiencing it right now. But do you have to experience it or know someone who has to have compassion?

There are so many stories.  As part of the installation, there were also videos playing that Dr. Marc Spooner recorded as part of his study on homelessness in Regina.  He spoke with the experts – those who are homeless.

Today, someone stopped and asked me .. are the homeless just people who don’t work?   It wasn’t really a question.  Even though I have personal experience and a heart for the issue, it is really so complex, I wasn’t really sure what to say.  I tried to say a few things but I don’t feel I said the things that will bring this man to a deeper understanding.  Maybe the media coverage will help to bring the message across – CBC, Prairie Dog, Leader Post, radio stations like MBC all came out to interview and take pictures.

I don’t know.  I still have a lot to learn – so do we all.


montreal is happenin

Oh my! I just discovered an on-line magazine based in Montreal and it is called Inspire Art – here is the pic from their main page! It is a place to find out what is happening in Montreal and beyond – filled with awesome resources, posts, and news …  and definitions … i love it and will definitely check it out regularly!


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