10AM Art Studio | Etobicoke, ON

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I was working at Warden Wood Community Center as a part of my practicum subject. The day unfolded with unexpected events, adding an element of spontaneity and joy. Seniors were already present during our setup, an unplanned open-mic session unexpectedly became a favorite activity, and shift calendar became chaotic towards the event’s end brought a humorous twist.

Students at Arts Education and Community Engagement

Although my initial intention was to uplift others, I discovered that people often engage more when they perceive that their help is needed. While some seniors, like the enthusiastic Walter and Fey, welcomed new activities, others, such as Athina, initially showed disinterest. It could be due to some level of memory loss or physical limitation.

But when Athina learned about my insecurities, she started sharing more about her life experiences, and offered guidance and encouragement. She left a message for me “Everyday when I wake up, it is my day!” The workshop became a conduit for forming deeper connections. I was fortunate to have ample time with Athina, realizing that sometimes self-expression fosters connection, and other times, connection inspires creative expression.

Each conversation during the event reinforced my belief in the healing, connecting, and inspiring power of art within communities, especially for adults and seniors.

By Alek Phan

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