It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years already!
As many of you know, H’art opened, with the help of countless community supporters, in a small visual arts studio on Montreal Street in downtown Kingston. Buoyed by the success of that visual arts program, and the impact it was having on people’s lives, we continued to expand to other art forms including dance, music, media arts, and theatre as well as adding accessible programs and spaces. Today, we offer three main programs in an award-winning 10,000-square-foot, fully accessible space ––and remain in downtown Kingston. With a great mission of developing a meaningful community hub with a highly extraordinary team of staff members, artist participants, community artists, volunteers, and board members, H’art Centre is now vital to the Kingston art scene and a leader in the inclusive arts movement in Canada.
In the last decade alone, we’ve been quietly developing inclusive arts outreach in long-term care homes, training the next generation of inclusive arts leaders in Kingston through our MixAbilities Inclusive Arts Training program, creating inclusive arts tools and resources, and helping emerging inclusive arts groups to accelerate positive change in Kingston and across Canada. As we gear up to celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, we will be reflecting on how much positive change H’art Studio artists and the organization itself have been able to make.
Building H’art Centre has been like throwing a pebble into the water and watching its ripples move forward and beyond where I could have ever imagined –– our creative endeavours and inspiring moments have continued outward to influence the future in a gentle way. This season, we will share some of these stories, H’art artists will explore this artistic theme of ‘ripples’, and Kingstonians will be invited to make a few ripples of their own. And then, let’s make a real splash with an anniversary celebration at the end of the season!
Katherine Porter, Executive Director
Photo credit: Bernard Clark for Profile Magazine 1998