Hello and welcome to the (maybe) final post from me on CAiR Space!
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting over the past year. It has been a pretty amazing experience. I went from applying for the job, thinking I was only here to create a program for a future artist in residence. Not only was I a part of that, but I was able to BE the artist in residence with Myths and Mirrors. I was able to be a part of so many wonderful projects this year.
Almost right away I was thrown into revitalizing this mural, which just needed some filling out with galaxies and stars and other spacey goodness! It was my first step at transforming Victory Park.
Then I got a bit political, and during the Sudbury election re-purposed some of the election signs and invited people to write messages of things they wanted to say to the new council, things they wanted to help transform the Greater City of Sudbury!
Then we celebrated the winter holidays with our Solstice lantern ceremony and some icy outdoor Christmas bulbs!
Finally, I started doing workshops at Victory Park. I only had a few kids coming every week, but they were quickly my regulars, and we started making a lot of cool things together!
Soon March break rolled around (time flies!) and we had a jam-packed week of fun, art-making, story-telling and making new friends! We learned to we’ve, make shadow-puppets, prints, and so much cool stuff! Here I started to become more confident with facilitating a bigger group in art-making.
As the snow melted, more and more kids started showing up to my workshops. It allowed us to get down to some seriously cool public art. We wanted to bring positive messages to the park. A lot of these rocks ended up walking away, and are no longer in the park, but I saw a few of them displayed on the front steps of homes in the area. Clearly some of the kids took them home to show off, which was really cool!
Of course I found some time to work on my own artwork as well, which was a huge bonus that I was very thankful for. It has been one of the most inspiring years of my artistic career. I had a booth at Sudbury’s first comic convention, GraphicCon, I created a website for my comic, The Dream Argument and a whole new chapter, I have my artwork up at the Laughing Buddha for my first ever exhibit… plus facilitating art for young people and adults! I couldn’t have been more lucky.
Then of course, Spring/Summer hit and it’s been a blur ever since! We painted the building at Victory Park (again!), the Splash Pad opened, and there were more kids than ever coming to the twice-weekly workshops! Plus Kazzzam!, the stilt walking and circus arts troupe started up again, which was a lot of fun… to watch, from the safety of the ground.
Then of course we had the Dance-A-Thon! I don’t know what was more fun, prepping for the Dance-A-Thon or the actual event!
Then we had Northern Lights Festival Boreal! WOW! What a weekend! We had sooo much going on! Stilt walking, stage painting, film screenings, art-making, sculpture making, flocking, juggling, face painting! The list goes on!
Then the work at Victory Park began! First with the circle project, in which we painted circles with chalk-board paint so that kids could draw on the fences in the park!
Then we had the community mural going on behind Cosmic Dave’s! We had people of all ages coming by to contribute their designs and artwork to our ‘Realms of the Earth’ walls! This is going to be a part of a Donovan-based community garden!
Soon, and we are getting closer now, I was renovating the kitchen to make Victory Park a much more interactive space! The chalk board paint we got went a LONG way! Not only was I able to paint all the cupboards in the kitchen with the stuff but…
I also painted a bunch of wood panels to put up on the big blue wall on the outside of the building in Victory Park! Now there’s lots of space for kids and young people to draw, and erase, and draw again in the park! How’s that for lots of interactive art space? 🙂
I’m not quite done yet… I’m going to be helping with the celebration of everything we’ve done this year with our Monster Art Crawl! So if you’d like to see a lot of this stuff IN PERSON and wear a cool or spooky costume, listen to rad music, and possibly win some neat prizes/candy, you should DEFINITELY come meet us at Victory Park (Off Frood rd. in the Donovan!) this Saturday (October 24th!) at 2pm! We will have face painting if you don’t have a costume and then we will follow the monster tracks around the neighbourhood to lead to all of our amazing community arts projects!
So… I may have another post after the crawl. But looking back at all the amazing things I got to do this year, I know I have a lot more optimism for the future. I’ve seen what art in a community can do, in action. I feel so sad that I won’t get to see the kids in the park weekly anymore, and I know they have been asking all the time if/when the building will be open. I know it gives them pride to see the things they’ve done become a part of the park and other projects in the area, like the mural!
Very often artists feel like they are lone wolves, like they must work alone. But working with other people has been one of the most inspiring, important things I have done with artwork. Community is so important and art really brings people together. I have seen it bring together kids who were total strangers, kids who got along, and kids who didn’t. I’ve seen it allow adults to be kids, and kids to express some more adult ideas. I have seen it bring comfort to people, and bring others out of their comfort zones. It is really one of those things that can break barriers and that is amazing!
I’m not sad. Or at least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself. I am just happy Myths and Mirrors exists, and that more artists will get the opportunity to do what I’ve done! I am happy to have been even a small part of it.
Sudbury is my home and downtown especially will always have a piece of my heart. I really hope more people start seeing that soon. 🙂
CAiR Space, signing off… for the last time?