For the past couple of years I have had the opportunity to work with the Calgary Public Library as a community art facilitator, primarily providing programming outside the Central Library as part of its Exterior Animation Project. Each week, under the library tent, I offer an interactive art activity over a three-hour period, for any interested passersby to participate in.
I love planning the activities just as much as I enjoy facilitating them! I try to plan activities that will not only excite the public, but will also tie in to a library, Calgary, or seasonal theme. I also like to use recycled or re-purposed materials as much as possible and the project in this picture turned old CDs that would otherwise end up in the garbage, into sun catchers.
The day this picture was taken, I was able to prepare some examples and try out the process on my art table in our backyard, savouring the beautiful July day, and feeling inspired by the heat of our summer. The colours I chose (leftover from another project) were meant to capture the sun and heat.
Programming on the busy corner in front of the Central Library has its challenges because of the numbers of people, the variety of ages and interests, the noise, and even the wind, but I thrive on these challenges, and so far the public has been enthusiastic in their participation. I’ve had grandparents creating with their grandchildren, new immigrants who have found their way to the library, people residing in one of the transitional shelters in the area, students from Bow Valley College, and downtown working folks, looking for a little creative reprieve.
For me this picture captures the joy I feel when I am able to immerse myself in planning a creative project that is low cost, meaningful and enjoyable for the public.
Wendy Lees is a community art facilitator in Calgary and runs create!—a non-profit organization that improves lives through creative expression and exceptional community art programming.
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