Diversifying and increasing reach: Involvement of Latin American immigrant population in the Art Hives

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Bio: 

Ana García is a Colombian psychologist, artist and an MA student in Art Therapy at Concordia University. She is passionate about the use of art for people’s wellbeing and has embarked on a large journey to follow that passion. Ana has a background in individual clinical practice and is now interested in taking mental health practice out of its traditional office spaces in order to offer tools for communities to heal through art making.

Impact of Project : 

This project was developed in response to the 2018 Art Hives Open Forum priority of diversifying and increasing the reach of the Art Hives Network, the Art Hive Network’s value of radical inclusivity, and the growing integration needs of the immigrant population. It placed focus on the Latin American immigrant-population which represents a large percentage of Montreal's newcomers.

Putting her English/Spanish bilingualism at the service of her community, Ana proposed this project with the aim of helping the integration of the Latin American immigrant population in Montreal by increasing their involvement in the Montreal Art Hives network. In total, Ana held 36 sessions with 70 participants, making connections with different Latin American communities and leaders in Montreal and exploring what it takes to develop a community project.

The majority of organizations supporting recent immigrants do not have many resources. When Ana first ‘pitched’ bringing community art studios and art therapy practices to organizations the reaction was often “that sounds great, but I do not have any way to pay you for your work.” Offering a wellness practice that did not require economical retribution, supported by an important institution like Concordia University, was significant to the communities Ana contacted. 

One challenge with this project was the amount of time required in order to reach the goals Ana envisioned. Working at a grassroot level implies a lot of time and commitment which is not easy to balance with the academic requirements. Ana developed a database of Latin American community organizations in the city that she plans to contact with the purpose of coordinating how to better serve them with the Art Hives methodologies. Furthermore, she plans to continue developing guidelines she created during this project that help people interact with and utilize art materials, based on the Expressive Therapies Continuum.

For more information please contact Ana at anamaria.garciah@gmail.com

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