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Art Connects Us

By Susan Ksiezopolski

As February rolls around, one of our precious exhibits is getting ready to be put on display, “Arts from Heart”. The exhibit highlights the work of our Community Living Oakville artists that are inspired every Monday to create from their heart. What happens is magical, because not only does amazing art surface, but in between the paint brushes, water, and what emerges is a sense of community. When the participants create art from the carefully curated lessons prepared by Sybil, it provides them with a sense of pride, an opportunity for inner reflection and sense of belonging to an inclusive, safe, artistic community hub.

Art brings people together, through the shared act of creating together, stories are shared and connections are made. Art connects us not only to each other but also to ourselves. This is the case with all of our Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre program
offerings. With our weekly workshop gatherings, participants come to learn and to grow together. In doing so, they also create a sense of community. Our members often express how at Joshua Creek, they feel like they finally have found a haven where they not only are welcomed but where they feel they belong. By taking part in collective art, through writing, listening, creating on canvas, watercolour or print making, they can express themselves and the shared experience forges meaningful and uplifting interactions with each other. As Rothko- Latvian born, American artist once said “You have sadness in you, I have sadness in me – my works of art are places where our two sadnesses can meet, and therefore both of us feel less sad.”

Creating a sense of connection and belonging supports our mental well-being. We are social beings, feeling sense of community fuels our resilience and helps us to cope during difficult times. Social cohesion, reduces our isolation, which is detrimental to our health. A study conducted by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, found that a lack of social connection heightened the health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder. She’s also found that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity. Participating in our Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre art or wellness program offerings, not only will boost your creativity, but also support your self-care practice, and you will have the opportunity to engage with our Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre community members.

Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre is a place where you can, not only connect with art but also foster a healthy connection with yourself and others! Make sure to make it part of your self-care routine.

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