RE-create Outreach Art Studio, a program of Shalem Mental Health Network, has been a flurry of activity over the past few months. In addition to our regular drop-in studio times, which happen three times a week, we’ve put on great exhibitions and participated in some special projects.
At the June James Street North Art Crawl event, we presented our exhibition “The Sights and Sounds of Where We Belong.” The exhibition grew out of a research project we did last summer, called ‘Spaces and Places.’ This research, designed by the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University, looked at where in the city at-risk youth feel as though they belong or don’t belong. The exhibition featured both audio and visual art about six different spaces in the city, and had youth-generated suggestions for how each space could become more youth-friendly. An article about this exhibition ended up in The Hamilton Spectator the next day, which added to our celebration.
The week after the exhibition, our studio co-ordinator, Meghan, headed to the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University for their conference Pathways to Resilience III. This conference happens every five years and attracts researchers and academics from all over the world. At the conference, the artwork from ‘Sights and Sounds’ was featured at a poster evening and generated some great feedback.
Amidst this excitement, we were honoured to have freelance writer Vivian Khouw write a series of five articles highlighting life at RE-create for local newspaper Urbanicity. You can check out the first article here, and click through at the bottom to read each consecutive one.
The ‘Spaces and Places’ research project on youth resilience is a three-year project, and so this summer, we completed the second installment, which involved doing research with six more youth. We are excited to add this year’s data to last year’s, and to continue the project next summer as well. We are grateful to have received funding from the Canada Summer Jobs program to re-hire our summer student from last year, Brett Klassen, to be our videographer for the research.
In addition, we had an exhibition on youth mental health, funded by a grant from the Hamilton Community Foundation. As part of this project, we had two professional guest artists with lived experience with mental health visit the studio, and we invited a youth mental health clinician to also come and visit. The artwork created was presented at the James Street Art Crawl in August.
Another new partnership that we have formed is with Motis Inc, a local skateboard company. They are incredibly generous and have provided skateboards for 15 of our youth to paint on and make into custom works of art. In addition, they have brought in a local artist to do a painting workshop on the boards, which the youth enjoyed a lot. These works of skateboard art were out on the street during the August Art Crawl as well.
The summer season was a full one at the studio, and has been marked by record attendance numbers. We’ve loved getting to know so many new youth, and have been blessed by the creativity that they bring to the space. As the fall approaches, we’re gearing up for a big fundraising event on Friday September 25th at 7:30 pm, called Battle of the Brushes. It will be a live painting competition featuring local professional and emerging artists, as well as delicious food. Keep up to date with details on this event by liking our Facebook page.