The Campbell River Art Gallery has launched an Art Hive, with financial assistance from the province, through a BC Art Council Arts Impact grant.
On Thursday mornings, artist Nadine Bariteau hosts art-making workshops for people with experience of mental health and substance use and people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. The facility is also available as an “open studio” at this time, fostering self-directed experiences of creativity, learning, and skill sharing.
“Art is a democratic language, it allows individuals to safely imagine and express their creativity,” said Bariteau. “Listening with an open heart is an essential part of understanding. Therefore creating a safe space where everyone is equal is undeniable.”
Based on the Art Hive Network’s concept, the program is an inclusive and respectful space where people can respond in creative ways to things that matter.
The project came about following a successful partnership with Walk With Me. Part of the program involved art marking with street-involved participants. This enabled them to express their lived experience through visual means, and collaborate on a project to bring these expressions to the wider community.
“As we participated in Walk With Me, we quickly realized the impact that it was having on folks, not just the actual walks and the story telling part, but the fact that members of our unhoused community had a place to go that was consistent and where they felt empowered, and valued,” said Sara Lopez Assu, executive director, in an interview with Marc Kitteringham for the Campbell River Mirror. “We listened to some of the cultural leaders that were part of Walk With Me and they clearly asked us to keep something going.”
The project is also intended to benefit the greater Campbell River community by providing an opportunity to engage with people who use substances/experience homelessness in a different and constructive way, reducing stigma, and building dialogue between users of the downtown area.
The Art Hive runs at the Campbell River Art Gallery’s studio Thursdays at 10:30 am.
Art created through the program is for sale at The CRAG’s Gallery Shop.