Community Art-making Fuels Discovery, Connection

‘People find new ways of seeing themselves and each other’

Whether it ignites a healing process or shatters isolation, art is proving to be a powerful force when community members unite in creativity.

For some Peterborough residents, making art in the company of others fosters new friendships and forges a stronger connection to community. For others, it can be a more personal, intense therapeutic exercise and a journey towards increased well-being.

In both cases, coming together for the purpose of artistic creation flourishes in Peterborough and it’s having healthy benefits on individuals and community.

“When we connect with our creative selves we feel more open and alive and we can share with those around us a sense of togetherness and warmth.”

“When people come together to make art, they form a common bond and begin to see how we are all similar,” Creating Space Community Arts Studio’s Myria Rei Solas, registered psychotherapist and certified art and play therapist, recently told Electric City Magazine.

“The lines and barriers that separate us disappear and people find new ways of seeing themselves and each other. When we connect with our creative selves we feel more open and alive and we can share with those around us a sense of togetherness and warmth.”

That sense of togetherness helps people feel less alone and more supported, she says. “It may be a chance to meet people of various ages, abilities, ethnicities, and different lifestyles with the bridge of art-making.”

Creating Space currently offers drop-ins at Emmanuel United Church on Rubidge Street three days a week. The drop-ins are open to anyone in the community and run on Mondays from 3:30-7:30 p.m., Tuesdays from 1:30-6 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 1:30-6 pm. There is no fee to drop in but donations are welcome.

Meanwhile at The Mount Community Centre, artist and psychotherapist Brian Nichols makes similar observations as the community art-making process unfolds during a weekly, drop-in community art group called You Can Make It Art.

“There’s no question for me that people find a happiness in themselves and in the world,” Brian says.

“The folks that we see are feeling very alone and very isolated. This bypasses money, resources and intelligence and makes a more level playing field.”

“The focus is not on the creation of art, it is on community and dialogue and connection,” Brian says.

The session runs from about 9:30-11 a.m. on Tuesdays at 1545 Monaghan Rd.

Admission is $5 per person per session, pay-what-you-can or free and includes all supplies.

Art-making has the potential to have an even broader impact on community if there were further opportunities for people to participate, Myria says.

“I believe that if more of this were happening in Peterborough there would be fewer people who feel alone.

“There would be more awareness about what is really happening for people. There would be more accepting of differences between people and more highlighting of what makes us all human.”

Photo courtesy of the Creating Space Facebook page.

 

Related Stories:

Community Art-making Extends Beyond Finished Pieces

Artist Dreams of Community Art Hives

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