Our summer has been off to a busy start with presentations at local and international conferences, community workshops, and planning for the further development of the national network.
I recently presented at the Arts Summit 2013, hosted by the Alliance for Arts and Culture in Vancouver, BC. You can read the blog for conference highlights or watch a selection of the presentations online. One of the most inspiring lessons I learned during the first day of the conference was from Debra Sparrow, an acclaimed weaver who was born and raised on the Musqueam Indian Reserve. In the Musquem language there is no separate word for arts, as art is part of everything. I am sure this will resonate for most of you. I also strongly recommend Richard Evan's presentation, who spoke about cultural professionals as cultural enablers whose role is to increase the creative capacity of communities and citizens. It was reassuring for me to hear this, as it re-affirmed the vision of our network: increasing the creative capacity of our communities for their health and wellness.
At a more national level, I am excited to let you know that building on the momentum from the initial community meetings that AHNC hosted in Toronto and Ottawa back in April, there have been further gatherings in each city, and the groups are now forming local arts and health networks. In addition, in Antigunish, Nova Scotia, a network has formed called Arts Health Alliance (AHA!). We are in communication with representatives from each of these groups and have invited them to be involved in helping set the direction for the further development of AHNC. If you are interested in joining any of these groups, you can email us and we will put you in touch with the local representatives.
Time is running out to contribute your thoughts to AHNC's online survey! If you haven't done so already, please take a few minutes to take the survey (approx. 10 minutes of your time). It will give us the opportunity to hear your suggestions on how to engage and grow the community and increase support for arts and health in Canada.
As AHNC will be in a time of transition this summer, with new members joining our team and changes to our website, please note we will be taking the next few months to regroup and refresh. Our next newsletter will be coming your way in September 2013, but in the meantime do not hesitate to connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or by email.
Executive Director, Arts Health Network
This month our feature Snapshot is with Shirley Serviss, an accomplished writer (see Hitchhiking in the Hospital), who has been a key champion integrating the use of arts in healthcare programs for well over a decade. Shirley is a staff literary artist at the University of Alberta's Artist on the Wards program for the Friends of University Hospital as well as a a co-facilitator of writing workshops with cancer patients for the Cross Cancer's Arts and Health program and President of Artists Urban Village, an organization devoted to developing affordable live/work space for artists of all ages, income levels and artistic disciplines in Edmonton, AB.
Making Accessible Arts Programming a Canada-wide Priority
Arts Health Network Canada recently had the chance to sit down with a key pioneer of the disability arts field in B.C., Steph Kirkland. Kirkland shares her experiences about her work as Executive Director of Vocal Eye and attempting to grow the unique, yet under-resourced non-profit society and her hopes for the future growth of similar types of services in order to engender accessible arts programming as a Canada-wide priority.
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