9:30am to 4:30pm
This full day workshop explores what artists need to know and what options they have if they want to work in diverse ethnocultural communities. Artists often want to be able to use their skills for social and community initiatives, but do not know how to facilitate these initiatives, or the best practises for working with potentially vulnerable populations. Creative Community will look at the variations between community engagement and arts education outside of the classroom. Participants will learn practical ways to apply their work in community settings working with under-resourced groups and have the opportunity to develop ideas with experts in the field. Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to network with representatives from the social service sector to further their understanding of the unique need of these settings.
Paola Gomez is a force of nature: a determined and inspired individual committed to improving lives through the arts. A trained human rights lawyer hailing from Colombia, she works as a legal community worker and is a writer of fiction and journalistic non-fiction; she is also the PEN Canada Writer in Residence at George Brown College and a frequent organizer of art exhibits in the Latin American community in Toronto. In 2012, she co-founded Sick Muse Art Projects with artist Alex Usquiano. As the co-founder of Sick Muse Art Projects, Gomez has fostered community engagement and integrated discussions about identity and inclusion into art programs and writing workshops. She’s currently working on a project with Syrian refugee women, encouraging them to share their stories.
A graduate of Ryerson University’s Theatre School, and The Toronto Art Therapy Institute, Mary Krohnert’s work is driven by an appreciation of storied experience, and a desire to explore and utilize the spaces found between the worlds of fine art and social services in order to make sharing those stories accessible and meaningful to all. Mary is an actor, writer, and art therapist with over twenty years in community outreach through the arts, including developing and implementing programs and projects for Performers for Literacy, ShakespeareWorks, the YMCA and YWCA, University of Toronto, Variety Village, Durham Rape Crisis Centre, Durham Family Court Clinic, Cornerstone Community Association, University of Oshawa Institute of Technology, Trent University Durham, and Durham College.
Mary is the founder of the LivingRoom Community Art Studio, a registered non-profit Art Hive in Oshawa, Ontario, that provides a safe place for people – including those most marginalized – to make and share art for free in the service of community development and wellbeing. Art Hives are safe spaces where the processes involved in making and sharing art can be experienced and normalized in an effort to empower individuals and families, and revitalize neighbourhoods. In the three years that the LivingRoom studio has been open, it has witnessed remarkable creative growth in its community with over fifteen thousand visits from Durham Region community members. Working primarily with donated and gently used traditional and non-traditional art materials, Mary and a team of passionate studio coordinators and volunteers work with people of all ages and abilities, and from all walks of life, to provide opportunities for folks to reclaim the power of their hands, hearts and minds through creative expression in a community setting.