Living in this unprecedented time of COVID-19 is like being in a Salvador Dali painting – completely surreal. When the pandemic interrupted the rhythm of RE-create we had to get creative. RE-create closed its doors to youth artists in mid-March only to re-open them again in the first week of April, albeit virtually!
Things have changed, but one thing that remains constant is the strong connection and creativity of our community. Megarrah, RE-create’s studio coordinator is off as she has two young children who now must suddenly take their schooling at home.
However, Emma, RE-create’s outreach worker, is still available. Emma has been instrumental in reaching out and facilitating connection, creativity and community – virtually. She has hosted Zoom times with the youth which have turned out to be just like studio time. People instinctively join the Zoom call and bring their own creative projects. People just create and chat – just like during studio time. Emma is hosting two Zoom studio times a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1pm).
Once a week RE-create hosts a live Instagram art-making time that youth can tune into. This has been well received, and has so far consisted of projects as varied as a drawing prompt of “Freddy Mercury in the Spring,” a do-it-yourself t-shirt bag, and watching one of our volunteers Bethany work on a large oil painting. If there are artists who are interested in volunteering for a live Instagram art time, let Emma know. She can be reached at [email protected].
Friday April 10th was to be the opening of a Photovoice exhibit that showcased the work of some of RE-create’s youth. This project was facilitated by Kristyn, an art therapy student doing her placement at RE-create. Thanks to technology the exhibit was still ready to go – just virtually. It was a huge success! There were over 220 views and over 65 written responses to the youth artists. It was so exciting that these youth were able to be seen and heard.
Although the pandemic is not something we want to have continue, it is always encouraging to see the wonderful surprises that come out of disruption and hard times. As we image life post CV-19 we are curious to see how RE-create will have adapted and changed. Perhaps we will continue to offer online studio times or exhibits that include an online presence.
Life post pandemic leads us to think about our studio space. RE-create currently rents space from another community organization, Centre 3, which continues to be a wonderful partnership. But, as we dream and think about RE-create’s future, we want to have a dedicated space that is our own. We would love to have a physical space that we, and the youth, could call home. This space would be a hive for artistic endeavours, particularly for those on the fringe. If you know of a place or have ideas please do reach out to us ([email protected]).
Our mantra these days: Stay apart. Stay safe. Stay creative. Stay connected.