The Importance of Play

art of community

On January 24th, 2015, Ruth Howard, the inspiring Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre  (Toronto), travelled to Thunder Bay to partner with CAHEP and collaborate with over 20 local artists and community organizers.  In this one day workshop, called The Art of Community, artists were provided with the opportunity to learn, create, collaborate, and dream.
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Together at the Baggage Building Arts Centre, we had the chance to discuss community arts, learn about the amazing work of Jumblies Theatre, work together on some wonderful hands-on projects, and find ways to integrate art into conversation and community.

At CAHEP, we feel it’s important that arts educators receive the opportunity to get together, learn, and create.   We hear more and more from both established and emerging artists that they would like more chances to meet others working in the field, play together,  learn from each other, and find new sources of inspiration.  Sometimes the best ideas for projects with children and youth come from creating our own work, and talking with other community-engaged artists.

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One of the main activities during the day started with simple large sheets of brown paper.  Throughout the day, Ruth worked with us to add bursts of colour, written word, and sculpture until these blank sheets were transformed into tiny collaborative communities.  We created topographical maps, wrote about what makes our hearts beat, what builds a stronger community, and sculpted tiny homes from bits of paper.
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At the end of the day, local musician Lise Vaugeois joined us for an improv music session where people played music, reflected through spoken word, sang, danced, and drew.

We all left feeling a little lighter and fuelled with inspiration.  Our hearts were filled with song, and our heads full of ideas for new projects, collaborations, and partnerships.
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Didn’t get to jump on board for this workshop and live inNorthern Ontario?  Have no fear; this is only the beginning of an exciting partnership with Jumblies!  We’ll be jumping on board their Train of Thought project this May (seriously, check it out!), as well as bringing Jumblies back for a more intensive three day workshop in Thunder Bay this fall.  Stay tuned, folks.  Send us an email if you’d like to hear more!

A tremendous thank you to Ruth and Jumblies Theatre, the Organic Garden Cafe for nourishing our bellies with a wonderful catered lunch, our building host, the Baggage Building Arts Centre, Eleanor Albanese for hosting Ruth in her wonderful home, and Jumblies’ funders for this initiative: Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.  CAHEP would also like to thank our own operating funders, Ontario Arts Council and the City of Thunder Bay for supporting our organization, making it possible to bring opportunities like this one to Thunder Bay.
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