It has been said that there is an opportunity in every crisis. When H’art Centre shut down to on-site programming due to the pandemic, we had no idea what opportunity would arise. Without missing a beat, our instructors and administrators worked hard to deliver virtual programming to our registered H’art Studio artists. What we did not predict was that people outside of Kingston would ask to join in! Since we started our virtual programming, we have welcomed new artists from Godfrey and Ottawa into the mix and received interest from Toronto.
It was really fun and relaxing. It really took the load off. Just really nice people to be around!This makes us soooooo happy.” – Feedback from new virtual H’art Studio artist
Our goals with the new virtual programming have been to:
- Connect with every H’art Studio artist;
- Connect them to each other;
- Set a new routine;
- Introduce meaningful activities; and,
- Share positive and encouraging messages through art with the wider community.
Artists in our H’art Studio program have received daily activities, twice-weekly Zoom workshops, and personal follow up calls and messages. Together, we have taken virtual field trips to art galleries, created a new song with musician David Archibald, took part in Stretch and Movement workshops with Melissa Mahady Wilton and Jessica Irwin, completed art projects, and much more.
We’ve now been offering our virtual programming for five months and we’ve learned a thing or two. This summer, Zoom workshops will support active movement and the promotion of healthy food choices and we will develop our “Solo” projects further. Thanks to a new grant, we can continue to offer this programming until at least March 2021. We have also been conducting research on our approach and developing best practices for online inclusive arts so we can continue to improve this offering.