From April 10 to 12, the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) hosted their 26th National Conference on Strategic Philanthropy in the city of Montreal with the theme, “Créativité, Collaboration, Connexion.” This event provides an outstanding opportunity for fundraisers and professional advisors from all around the country to learn, network, exchange experiences and keep up-to-date on all new trends, issues, and the current practices in strategic charitable gift planning.
This year the Concordia Art Hive was invited by CAGP to facilitate a pop-up art hive during the conference. At its heart, the Art Hive Network champions creativity, collaboration, and connexion so we felt right at home among this dynamic and creative group of people.
Filled with curiosity, many participants gathered around our table and shared their ideas, skills and creativity; from button making to collage, origami to pastel drawings and even jewelry and live portraits. We all found something unique to do with the materials and were excited to share our new art pieces with everyone around. Casual art making proved to be a great way to “break the ice” and interact with one another in a very different way.
Among the materials at the table was a round knitting loom, though neither my co-facilitator, Rachel, nor I knew how to use it. I thought, ‘What were we thinking when we brought it? What if somebody asks us about it?’ Rachel pointed out that one of the participants might know how to use it and they could teach us. Soon enough, a lady arrived and picked up one of the looms. I explained that unfortunately we did not know how to use it to which she replied that she knew, and just needed a bit of practice to remember; on the second break she came back, this time ready to show me how to use it. In her own words: “It took a little while to remember how to do this because I used to do it as a kid; this experience made me go back to my childhood, it was a lot of fun, I felt like a kid again.”
Art making brings a different experience in each of us. Some people felt like a child again. Others felt very generous and made unique and precious gifts for their loved ones, while others expressed feeling proud of their creations, having found a new skill, making something they never thought they could. How does spontaneous art-making make you feel?
“The Art Table was a wonderful addition to the conference and was a perfect fit for the theme we had chosen. It gave our participants an opportunity to give their brains a breather, to be creative and to connect through conversations with each other – what we would usually call networking! I also believe it stimulated the idea of sharing the art hive concept with our communities, since many of our delegates work and volunteer for charities around the country.” - Peggy Killeen, development consultant, and volunteer on the host committee for the CAGP Conference.
“…the Art Hives experience added a wonderful dimension to our exhibit space and delegates were enthusiastic about the opportunity to get creative.” - Diane Laundy, Principal Planner.
This was an amazing experience for us as facilitators and we hope it was as rewarding and fun for everyone that so generously shared their time, creativity and skills with us around the Art Table.
Pictures: Rachel Chainey.