These projects involve connecting with community and engaging in salient topics for community development, using the arts based facilitation as a tool for discovery and exploration. Sometimes puppetry is the tool for engagement and sometimes other artistic methods are used.
The Arts, Health and Seniors Project explores how involvement in the arts can improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable seniors. This initiative also supports the development of new knowledge and expertise in the fields of seniors’ wellness, chronic disease management, and community-engaged arts.This three year pilot project was initiated in 2007 and will document the impacts of involvement on the physical health and well being of participant seniors. We are hoping to aid in their ability to “age in place”, and to build new expertise amongst senior workers and artists in Vancouver and the North Shore
Artists Maggie Winston, puppeteer, and Laura Barron, musician and writer, spent this fall working with students, at three South Vancouver schools (Moberly, Henderson, and Trudeau Elementary). Then, these youth explored the concept of trash in their world and in their minds, through the creation of a narrative that they staged in December, using puppets and instruments they made from trash. And now, Maggie and Laura will share their work with students in Ramana’s Garden School in Rishikesh, India as well as Child Haven’s Montessori school and orphange in Kathmandu. Finally, throughout the process, these Asian and Canadian youth are communicating about their experiences, as pen pals, and building empathy for the environmental and social realities, commonalities and differences between their cultures.
In Nepal and India, thanks to our IndieGoGo campaign contributors and the non-profit, Instruments of Change (instrumentsofchange.org), we had the opportunity to share the same Trash Talk Recycled work that we led with students at three Vancouver schools last fall. Additionally, we connected these students through pen pal relationships as well as an exchange of creative work (shared through photos and videos). And like in Canada, all of the kids we worked with explored ideas of trash in our world and in our minds, while discussing more generous alternatives to the “trash” behaviors and talk that we all sometimes exhibit. Ultimately, the students’ discoveries were presented in original musical theatre pieces that incorporated instruments and puppets which they made from trash.
Grade 5 students with Teacher Tania Conely investigated questions related to the artwork “Untitled” by Vik Muniz, a large scale mosaic in Sqaumish, BC that represents collaboration and unity. Students created a shadow puppet plays representing stories inspired by the Musquem First Nation and their interpretations of the inquiry challenges.
Grade 1 students with teacher Gabrielle Novotny created pop-up puppets inspired by their reactions to the public art sculpture “Human Structures” by Jonathan Borofsky. The main theme that arose from exploring the sculpture was the idea of “loneliness” or “isolation”. The students chose puppets that could easily hide and reappear with this simple design, that allowed the students to depict imagined stories with characters who would hide, isolating themselves, feeling lonely, and then then reappear again when invited by friends.
with Nisg’aa artist Warren Adams
Check out the entire project and the interactive map at http://ourfootprintrenfrew.somethingcollective.ca/This Artist in Communities project is supported in partnership by the Renfrew Community Association and the Vancouver Park Board.
A community engaged performance at Kensington Community Centre. Artists Julia Carr (contemporary dancer), Meghan Goodman (contemporary dancer) and Maggie Winston (puppet theatre artist) worked with members of the community to create a site specific performance on the theme of “What makes a healthy habitat?” Featuring an interactive tour of the Community Centre with murals, puppets, hawaiian dance, giant inflatable sea goddesses, and a Water Dragon that dances in the pool.The final performance was on Sunday June 3rd, 2012 from 2:30-4:30pm.
Check out www.kensingtonart.wordpress.com for a full account of the project.
This project is part of the 2012 Artists in Communities Program with the Vancouver Park Board in partnership with the Kensington Community Centre Association and the Body Narratives Collective.