The team at Our Place Initiative would like to extend it's thanks to everyone that participated in the Art Journaling Health Initiative. Keep reading for an account of how this initiative went, to see some of the work of our participants, and to learn about how art journaling can be a fun and rewarding form of self-care.
Our Place Initiative offered its first online program from January 31-February 21, 2021. The 4-week Art Journaling series featured Fay Wilkinson, a Registered Expressive Arts Practitioner with over 30 years of experience. As described by Fay,
Art Journaling uses images (found or created), colour and words to respond to things that matter, freely, honestly and without judgment. It’s a wonderful and fun form of self-care, and can help to reduce stress and anxiety, so important in these times. Best of all, there are no rules, you do not have to consider yourself creative or artistic to take part, and no drawing skills are needed! The sessions include demonstrations, time to create and a chance to build an on-line community.
Participants in this inaugural program shared the following reflections:
"The support and freedom to just create and not judge myself was like a breath of fresh air. I have always loved creating but didn’t feel I had creative talent. Fay helped me let that go and just be free to have fun and create."
– Anne L.
"At a time when my world is spinning faster and tilting more than ever, when I am completely over-whelmed by all that is going on around me, I am blessed to meet Fay, with her gentle spirit, her easy way and her artistic techniques. I’m so glad I carved out that time to spend in her orbit. She helped me to dis-engage from the stress and to spend some very valuable time playing and discovering different creative processes. I am not artistically talented, but I do so enjoy creativity. It’s just so healthy. And I found something meaningful and a little magical in each class. And who doesn’t like a little bit of magic?"
– Leslie S.
"I have always used Sunday mornings as a time in my schedule to pause. That pause would take many forms - to languidly sit on the couch catching up on the latest trends on Pinterest while lazily sip a steaming cup of coffee that kept me company till noon; having a meaningful conversation with family overseas; tending to my joyful garden in the summer months or attending church. With the COVID pandemic almost circling our globe for almost a year, it was now more than ever before quite apparent to me, to keep my pause for Sunday mornings. A chance offering through Our Place Initiative took me on the most unexpected journey that I will forever be grateful for. For four Sunday mornings in the snowy month of February, I had the privilege to attend expressive Arts Educator Fay Wilkinson’s sessions hosted by Our Place Initiative. With the finesse of an orchestra conductor and with the playful ease that snowflakes fall through the sky, Fay Wilkinson guided a group of open-minded community members looking for that je ne sais quoi on those bright sunny cold mornings. Her instructions were always simple. Yet, the artistic outcomes of all the community members that participated in the self-reflective journey were complex in nature - layers of meaning, perspective, and thought intertwined to create works of self-expression in a variety of modalities. The sessions were meditative, playful, thoughtful and provided a vehicle for freedom of self-expression through the arts. My takeaway from the sessions is to encourage as many people to take moments to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the ordinary every day and find ways to connect with your inner thoughts, taking time to remind yourself of what is important to you, in your life. I feel honored to have been a part of the creative collective that was a mere blip in time, but that has left lasting impressions in my heart. Each community member, with their art, has taught me lessons in self-exploration. A big and warm-hearted thank you to Fay Wilkinson and to OPI for providing such an initiative for our community. Kudos!"
– Christianna T.
Thanks to all who participated in the first program for OPI’s Health Initiative. We look forward to welcoming Fay back to lead another art program in July!