Celebrate Community Arts

Sea Water Studio Group

Creating and sharing art together

Expressive arts in our local community connect us with others through creative experience. Natural locations, institutions and familiar surroundings can be venues for art making, art taking and art giving. We can make art in community at classes or workshops and with organized groups that focus on our creative interests. We can take art in community at events or performances that feature visual, theatrical, musical or narrative mediums. We can give art in community through supporting local arts projects and by volunteering for creative causes to help others.

When I think of community arts the late, great Pete Seeger comes to mind, and my mental radio can hear and see him teaching uplifting rounds of “if I had a hammer”. The musician activist believed in the power of music to bring people together and was a master of facilitating the creative voice of the individual in harmony with the collective. Now iconic in the American sound landscape, his much-loved folk songs are often musical stories that give hope for a better way. Pete created community through a shared music experience and inspired like-minded art makers and art takers to join in the chorus and be part of something bigger than the individual, bringing people together in an empowered whole. With his simple songs and stringed instrument the artist and teacher recognized the natural healing force of community arts.

Getting together with people to share a creative experience can be a peak experience, a moment when we are in-the-moment doing and enjoying a loved thing with a group. We feel good because there are wellness benefits when creativity is shared communally. The interactive and participatory dynamic of a group promotes listening, looking, learning, and improvising. It gives us a perspective outside of ourselves and a safe place to be ourselves with others. There is creative empowerment in social ecology for the individual and the group. Celebrate community arts in August while days are long and warm. Check out local events calendars and participate in an experience that will bring out the best in you, together with others.

Art HOPE is offering summer fun for art makers and art takers. Our annual Sea Water Studio on Ogunquit Beach will be held on Tuesday, August 19, 10:00 to noon. The program brings people of all ages together with local artists for a lively conversation about creative wellness and fresh air painting studio. And for an organic creative experience, come to the Acton Fair on August 21 & 22. Art HOPE will be hosting the “Happy Art” program in the University of Maine 4-H Pavilion where youth “art givers” will be volunteering their talents to make art cards for people with longterm illness in our community. The Acton Fair is a country classic for arts and crafts, animal husbandry, grassroots education, carnival games, rides, and fried dough. And if you need a little exercise after all the fun, join us for the Art HOPE Creative Wellness Walk at Laudholm Farm on the morning of August 26th for exercise and arts on the great lawn. Join us at our upcoming free events and celebrate community arts!

Recreate and Create!

Lakeside Studio

Special summer spots…

Summer is a time to play in the great outdoors. Maine is called “Vacationland”, a perennial place to recreate and create in a beautiful natural environment. Our state offers limitless organic vistas with miles of rambling rocky coastline, and nearly 3000 lakes and ponds fed by pristine river systems that run through green mountains and valleys. It’s July, and wherever your special summer spot is, get there and get creating. Physical activities and travel get mind, body and spirit moving. Going to a destination where we see places and people, new and familiar, can be inspiring and exhilarating.

Creativity kits are a good thing to have in the field of play. This may be a picnic basket with goodies to eat and read, or a fishing rod with tackle and fresh bait. A creativity kit is something you can personalize with the things you love to do when you can get away and play. I am a painter and my creativity kit includes a set of watercolors with brushes, drawing materials, sketchbook, and paper for various media. Being a fresh air artist I dress for the weather and pack my camera, a bottle of water, snack and all my materials in my well-loved LL Bean tote. It is enjoyable to prepare my creativity kit with the anticipation of getting away, beyond the mundane and the horizon. Continue Reading →

Thriving in Full Leaf

Art HOPE Creative Wellness Walks

Strong, beautiful and thriving.

The northland is a sea of green with every tree in full leaf. A fresh shot of fresh oxygen that invigorates and inspires, and with one deep breath…aaah…THRIVE! Alive, well and thriving. This first Sunday in June marks the 27th annual National Cancer Survivor’s Day in honor of the over 14 million Americans living with a history of cancer, from diagnosis to death, and the healthcare providers, family and friends who support them on the journey. We are “thrivers” in full flower and affect, celebrating milestones and recognizing the challenges we have overcome. More people with cancer are living longer and with a better quality of life than ever, supported with medical interventions and therapies in combination with a wellness-based lifestyle.

Universally, trees are a poignant metaphor for personal thriving and wellness. We root ourselves in the fertile ground and grow upward toward the light, our buds, leaves, blossoms, and fruits all radiant in season. Now in full bloom, take creative wellness time and enjoy the shade and fresh air of your favorite tree. Sit under it, on it, hug it. Yes, talk to it. Like the tree, embrace your perennial strength and beauty in full leaf. The textures, colors and sounds of a tree’s canopy can enliven the artist’s senses. As you find your tree retreat, you may sit in quiet meditation with a creative medium close at hand. A journal for writing and drawing or a set watercolors are organic ways to let words, images and musical notations find their way to original expression. Continue Reading →