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STORIES OF NOW: Wonder’neath Art Society



STORIES OF NOW: Wonder’neath Art SocietyArtBridges, Arts for Social Change Network, Wonder’neath Art Society | NS | 2022

“STORIES OF NOW” is part of a project ArtBridges is working on with Judith Marcuse Projects’ ASCN (Arts for Social Change Network) and ICASC. It is about gathering and sharing stories emanating from the field now and about what issues and areas of focus matter.

STORIES OF NOW: Wonder’neath Art Society, Kjipuktuk (North End Halifax), NS
As told by: Melissa Marr, artist/facilitator/co-founder of Wonder’neath, co-executive and artistic director, November 26th, 2021 to Seanna Connell (ArtBridges).


"If you could tell a story about your community-engaged arts initiative now, this year, what would the story be about? What are the main themes?

MM: Through an initiative that was meant to be a temporary measure, we stayed connected with our community and worked with artists to create free, themed, weekly art kits. These kits became a lifeline for not only families in the area, but for us as artists – working safely together in a time of significant isolation.

…For one of our art kits, an artist was invited to design a clay project. People love clay! – it feels extra special. Although we designed the kits as a team, this artist was determining all the logistics and we were aware that we might run out of the kits (although we were making hundreds to share). These kits were an offering to the community and were consistent, week after week. So on that day, people lined up early, in a long line, for the clay resources. We were entering our 3rd wave of lockdowns. None of us were prepared for it; people came through the entire day and we did run out. We were seeing small children not having enough of what we had hoped to give them and we had to improvise, handing out a bouquet of flowers that was part of our display, and other things to demonstrate our extraordinary amount of care! But the artist who had designed the kit was devastated, not realising there wouldn’t be enough…

As a theme, really it was how vulnerable we all were – and especially as artists. This is something we’ve seen and tried to provide as we go forward: overall care and advocacy for artists. How much they sacrifice to do what they do. People’s resilience shifted during the pandemic. Resources were really unknown and this was hard for the artists. There was no insurance for lost income. We were thinking about mental health and care for everyone – for ourselves and for the artists. We continued responding to the need, making kits for a year and a half before our first break. Looking at this period, we’re still in recovery, we’re not as we were going in."

For the full Story, click the Download link or follow the link here:


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Wonder'neath Art Society

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