The pandemic wreaked havoc on the livelihoods of all artists, all over the world, instantly rendering so many of you unable to share your work, and unable to get paid. It left you stranded in the grey zone when the Government started to help – unsure where, or even IF, you fit into the criteria for support.
We recognize how difficult that was, and continues to be, for so many of our community members.
As we round the corner through winter, and a start our 3rd year of pandemic reality, we invite you to share your stories, and your strength, with our community.
In addition to our kick-off story-sharing project, we will host virtual and small in-person sessions for peer-support and collaborative work.
These will be based around various themes that emerge from the stories we are told.
In this pilot phase, creative folk are encouraged to come forward with ideas and programs of their own that fit this framework of mental wellness through creative pursuits.
USE THE FORM BELOW TO SUBMIT YOUR STORY.
Starting February 14, 2022, join us on Facebook & Instagram for daily reflections, creative journaling, affirmations and positive inspirations.
Artist and Art Therapist, Nicole Crouch, guides us through creative processes for practicing self-acceptance and self-love.
I have long used various art forms to cope with life. I wrote my first short story when I was in grade seven, inventing the perfect family I did not have.
Teenaged angst was transported to the written page via poetry. I poured onto the page what I could not share with friends or family. My poetry was for my eyes.
Married to the military I take up painting. Becoming a hermit during long separations.
Years later while fighting grief and depression, I join a choir. Singing becomes my drug of choice. An access to happiness, or at least a reprieve from depression.
A hard day at the office? Step into the the stairwell and sing my heart out with Freddy Mercury and Queen.
The advent of blogs and Facebook provide a unique outlet for a natural introvert such as myself. To be public, but feel anonymous. I post my poetry online.
As strange as it may seem, when I can’t find the right words to say I write poetry.
During this year of Covid I have been continuing to write poetry and sketch. Creativity has branched out to Garden design, cooking and baking.
Covid actually gives me a reason to reach out to connect through social media.
Like I am in this moment with you.
I come from a family in which most forms of abuse occurred.
Years ago, as I was sliding into suicidal depression, I took my first painting class. The teacher told us the single most important thing to remember about watercolour was not to dip your brush in your coffee. Ha, ha. But then in other classes over time, we all remarked that we could sit down to paint, with a hot cup of something beside us, and by the time we stopped working, the cup was still full but now cold.
This is the saving grace for me: painting stops my mind from wandering to painful places. It lures my imagination instead into colour and shape and vibrancy and, on the best days, joy. Sure, I get frustrated, but painting heals that, too.
As art teachers also say, use your mistakes. If you blotch, change the direction of your painting. Allow the blotch to help you create in unexpected ways. Could there be a better lesson for life?
More than a decade after my first painting class, I still wrestle with depression, hopelessness and anxiety. Until I sit down at my art table. Then I have something far more engaging to do.
2020: perfect vision and, yes, in some ways this past year has offered us that. We’ve all learnt something about our needs and wants, our priorities, our comforts and coping skills and about the people around us.
I arrived in this area mere weeks before communities shut down for the first wave of Covid-19. Since then I have lived in a solitary bubble sustained by my daily walks, Zoom calls with friends and family and my art.
I have been a practising Fabric Artist for over 30 years. While I was still raising small children, and later when I was rushed off my feet running a business, I dreamt of being handed ‘free’, uninterrupted time to hunker down in my studio and work. What a luxury that would be … or so I thought. But, as it turns out, it’s not that simple … and I have spoken with many other artists who feel the same. Faced with blank canvasses and barren schedules sprawling out before us, that special, magical moment many of us thought we’d be delighted about, doesn’t deliver.
I thought my art was me and I was my art. But … it turns out that my art needs more than just me and my time and efforts to flourish. It needs audiences. It needs dates and deadlines. It needs rewards.
So the question is … can I claim to be an unsullied creative being if, as I have now determined, my creative juices would soon shrivel up and die left to the whims and fancies of complete freedom? The answer is probably not.
However, that said, I have nothing better to occupy my time with. I have nothing I want to immerse myself in more than my work, even though I seem to have spent many hours this past year standing on the edge unwilling to take the plunge … waiting for the perfect wave.
What I have managed to do during these past months is to write my third novel. Somehow, that seemed like a more suitable solitary activity for the time. Perhaps it is because I don’t need, nor expect, any outside rewards for the exercise. I am completely satisfied and happy simply to have done it, enjoyed it and finished it, whether anyone else reads it or not. But is that creativity, or merely self-indulgence?
Maybe it takes a bit of everything to sustain art during wobbly times … a spark of creative inspiration, enough self-belief to shut out the world to devote oneself to it and, finally, a community available to see and appreciate it when it’s all finished.
For now, that ‘community’ is largely virtual and I am astounded by the lengths people have gone to trying to make on-line art engaging, supportive, accessible and inspiring. I am grateful for the technology that makes it possible to ‘share’ and ‘like’ and discuss. My world would have been a far lonelier place without it.
or each of us this 2020 experience will have been different. I’m grateful for this opportunity to unravel some of it.