The positive correlation between art and well-being is widely established. Art has a physiological effect on our bodies; in fact, research has shown activities that inspire awe may actually boost the immune system.
Other research, namely the Arts and Individual Well-Being Survey, showed a strong positive correlation between cultural activities (such as visits to an art gallery, or attendance at a theatre, cultural festival or show) and indicators of personal well-being, such as health, stress levels and overall satisfaction with life.
And for practicing artists (which includes anyone who creates), art facilitates opportunities to explore, develop and practice creativity as a means to wellness.
So, what happens when that connection to art making or experience is compromised?
We know COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on cultural and creative industries in Canada. According to Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies Research Inc., data collected in an ongoing survey of Canadian artists and independent cultural workers at ILostMyGig.ca (open until February 2021) reported a total of 28,500 gigs are expected to be lost or are at risk, and the total income estimated to be lost or at risk through the end of the year is just over $20 million, or an average of $25,200 per respondent.
This loss (or uncertainty around future loss) has created or exacerbated a lot of anxiety. Couple this with restrictions around gatherings and requirements for social distancing, and people may be grappling with new or heightened feelings of isolation and loneliness.
A creative community is a vibrant and resilient community, and so to help ease the burden of social isolation the Quinte Arts Council is facilitating a virtual Art Health and Wellness Meet-up to create a safe space for attendees to share their experiences with COVID-19: their fears, anxieties and ways of coping.
Tracey Logan, a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) in private practice with more than 20 years’ experience, will be facilitating the sharing circle. Her focus is on helping people harness their strengths to overcome obstacles and actualize their potential using a trauma-informed lens.
Please note: this is not a counselling session, but a sharing session. If you have immediate concerns about your mental health, please contact the Crisis Intervention Centre at (613) 969-7400, ext. 2753.
The virtual meetup will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. via Zoom. To learn more or to register (it’s free), please visit Eventbrite.