Art Hives in the Media: Making the most of it: Turning to arts and crafts through the pandemic, The Philanthropist, April 12, 2021

Making the most of it: Turning to arts and crafts through the pandemic

Christina Palassio, April 12, 2021
Art Hives are featured in this article which reviews the many ways in which Canadian organizations are keeping communities connected through art during the Covid-19 pandemic:

"Crafting and art have gone beyond creative expression to become a way to check in, share something positive, stay focused, make meaning, and create a connection to the outside world – and to something bigger than our isolated selves. And while the depth of those benefits have been a surprise to some, they’re well known to individuals and organizations working in community-engaged arts and art therapy.

Rachel Chainey is a Montreal-based art therapist and the coordinator of Art Hives HQ, the home base of an international open-source network of more than 200 community art spaces that use art as a strengths-based community development practice.

Art Hives HQ is located on the Concordia University campus in downtown Montreal. In normal times, it buzzes with people of all ages and backgrounds who drop in for independent and directed making sessions – it’s a place where people can find belonging and support while, and by, exploring their creativity. Shifting programming online has limited accessibility and changed what connecting through craft looks like at HQ and other Art Hives, but it has also allowed new folks to join and has inspired new projects, like arts educator and therapist Megan Kanerahtenha:wi Whyte’s new virtual Art Hive in Kahnawà:ke, which she launched to help people connect during lockdown.

“We believe in craft not just as a creative pursuit, but as a lifeline. What’s powerful is that it’s a social experience around something that’s generative,” Chainey says. “We’re all going through some level of difficulty and grief, big or small. Art can hold so much of that. And when you create art with others, the impact multiplies: you’re uplifted by what you created, and by others’ creations, and you have this sense of belonging.”

The cognitive and mental health benefits of art have been widely studied and applied in a variety of contexts. Studies have found that practising art increases people’s overall and mental health by helping them better cope with stress. Art and craft gives people a way to process difficult emotions and experiences. There are also links between making and involvement in the arts and a higher sense of community belonging."


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