This is a collaborative project utilizing artists in Toronto, Twillingaters and the ever present wind! The Mindful Art Workshop is an innovative program that teaches people with brain injuries mindfulness techniques and art stamping; through this process they learn great wisdom including acceptance, compassion, kindness and gratitude.
The goal of our collaborative project was to connect these two vastly different communities, Toronto and Twillingate, and demonstrate how each was able to utilize mindfulness and art for greater health, well-being and connection.
There is huge array of literature suggesting that nature plays a pivotal role in health. Walks through natural areas have been proven to bring about peacefulness and a state of calm, never mind the health inducing effects of movement. Workers with access to windows are significantly happier and more productive than their florescently illuminated counterparts, and where windows aren’t possible, a photo or image of nature will still have a positive impact! Can you believe that? This means good things for viewers plugging into this project virtually; simply reading about this project and viewing the images online will elicit some of the benefits of those who actually participated!
The hospital employs over 150 people and provides residential, inpatient and outpatient services and serves somewhat as a community hub, where people are interacting and managing a range of emotions. Stress effects us all differently yet effects us all and hospitals house many sources. Where stress is inevitable our reaction to it is most certainly is not, and a healthy response must be learned. One of the primary goals of this project was to encourage those accessing the hospital to take a few moments for self care and enjoy the health benefits of nature which is too often under-appreciated despite being highly available.
A connection, inspired by art and wellness, was established between TO and TWI, and resulted in Mindful Art workshop participants graciously agreeing to produce stamped art specifically for Twillingate. The wind, an ever present force in Twillingate was recruited to spread the state of calm and connection across the island and to the four corners of the earth (one of which is very nearby on Fogo island).
The images included in this post showcase how the project was presented to Twillingaters on Sept 30th. As can be seen in the gallery below, they were encouraged to take a few moments to walk around the pond and look for the stamped cards, which served as a gentle reminder to breathe and be in the moment. The project was set up in the elevator, capitalizing on the high visibility and potential for a rare quiet moment while drawing direct influence from a Mindful Art Workshop exhibit. It was a beautiful day and the cards remained up at Hospital Pond for 12 hrs, gently blowing in the wind and spreading the message of presence and relaxation.
Hospital staff who participated commented on the tranquillity and peace of their time at the pond and the energizing effect their walk had on them. Given that this project was set up in a public space, it is also fun to wonder about its’ unknown impact on passerby’s. Videos of the artists who created the cards can be found on the Mindful Art Workshop page, eloquently describing the impact of their participation in the program and publicly proclaiming their commitment to self care. The cards are now at the entrance of my home, reminding me of the various ways mindfulness and art can influence health, wellness and connection to those all around.