Tag Archives: Vancouver

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 

 

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grow garden grow

Everything is green and everywhere is green!  Things are growing and changing  … the trees are wide with love, the birds are finding worms all over the place, and the air is warm.  And the gardens are exploding!

For the first time in three years, I have not started a garden – and I miss it!  My first garden was with my dear friend in a yard where we battled with deer and grew kale, carrots, lettuce and tried to grow corn – with not much success. Growing in community can be a really exciting, challenging, and expanding type of experience.

Community gardens are all over the place – there was one in my old Victoria neighbourhood and although I wasn’t really part of it, I really appreciated the people who made it happen!

Growing things is very creative!  How will you arrange your growing space?  What types of plants will you grow? Why? What does it feel like to grow things?  I have always found weeding a very rewarding experience and oh-so-tangible!

And how are people connecting gardens, art, and social justice?  Here are just two projects to check out:

Name: EcoArtLab – Ella Cooper
Location: Vancouver, BC
What’s happening:Multidisciplinary artist and educator, Ella Cooper has recently gained four of the City of Vancouver’s Green Street plots and would like to turn them into a veritable eco-arts gallery and space for community engagement. Collaborating with the Community Arts Council’s Eco Arts Salon, gardeners, guerilla knitters, creative minds, poets and interested members of the community we will be working to create a happy blend of community gardening and eco arts projects that creates an interactive green space that will evolve as the plants grow.”  EcoArtsLab

Name: LoveArtLab –  Annie Sprinkles and Elizabeth Stephens
Location: California
What’s happening: A manifesto, an EcoSex symposium this very weekend, the chakras, love art lab and ecosexuals!  Who knew?  I want to go to California right now! Here is the first point from the manifesto: “(i) WE ARE THE ECOSEXUALS. The Earth is our lover. We are madly, passionately, and fiercely in love, and we are grateful for this relationship each and every day. In order to create a more mutual and sustainable relationship with the Earth, we collaborate with nature. We treat the Earth with kindness, respect and affection.” Sexecology.org

There are many other projects, activities, websites, and neat ideas floating around … but I think that is it for me for now!

Peace out,
jkl



i feel ya friend. with all my heart.

So, my latest research and soul searching has led me to the world of (mostly Canadian) art therapy.  I have a deep interest in art as a tool for healing and expression – at the individual, group, and community level.   Art therapy is an absolutely amazing field with researchers, practitioners, and clients engaged in diverse ways of knowing, feeling, and working.   It is a widely practiced form of therapy and has its roots in various geographical places and theoretical frameworks.

photo: me. location: toronto public washroom.

The Canadian Art Therapy Association (C.A.T.A.) was founded in 1977 by Dr. Martin A. Fischer.   There are 3 schools in BC (Victoria, Vancouver, and Nelson), 2 in Quebec (a MA at Concordia – the only one in the country), one in Alberta, and one in Toronto – The Toronto site has a great introduction to art therapy and the Vancouver site has a great history of art therapy in Canada. And the Nelson site is very vibrant with a great list of resources!

I like this simple video because it shows examples of art created in an art therapy session … of course, there are all kinds of videos on youtube …not sure who created this video …

In my searching I came across a great project/organization called Art for People – a creation of Martine Bedard and Andy Holmes.  All about love, peace, creativity AND environmental awareness/sustainable art practices –  Art for People makes art, practices art therapy, and contributes to international art projects around the world.  Check out the fantastic pictures on their site about their bike ride with their family (2 little kids), their artist-in-residence experience, and a link to blog by Earle Birney who is headed into a 3 year peace retreat (along with a list of others).

Healing the body and soul through art, expression, and dialogue… a place to explore without all the words and  expectations … to explore the difficult or traumatic or joyful  with colour, line, shape, and movement … to be supported in creative expression … I guess that is one of the things that catches my attention about art therapy is that it is accessible to most, if not all …

photo credit: me . location: somewhere in san francisco.  thanks to the graffiti artist (unknown).

Feelings … sometimes hard to deal with … always necessary to process … and as “we are the doer, so can we undo” : Swami Radha.

peace out for now,

j

 


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