An Art Partner picture entitled “Inclusion” (22”x 60” acrylic on canvas) will shortly be making its way to Ottawa. The picture, presented to Ken Dryden at a Poverty Forum held in Kenora on September 4 was painted by a group of artists including Lori Gray, Mary Sandy, Jody Derouard, Robert Gordon, Shelly Bujold-Brignall, Janet Belair, Candy Filipuzzi, Tom Adams and Ruth Wilgress.
The art task for this group of particpants was to think about inclusion, a place where everyone is felt welcome. Blue skies and a bright sun shine down on a variety of figures in the painting. The painting has images as fairies, the devil, figures in wheelchairs, a cat, people holding hands, and even a figure that look like they are failing from the sky.
The title plaque contains the quote of Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has .”
At the Poverty forum as well as the night that followed, a point that some consumers served by KACL wanted to make is that poverty is a multi-dimensional problem.
Physical poverty means that individuals don’t get bare essentials: inadequacies of goods and services such that the individual experiences (or is exposed to) disease, hunger, malnutrition, and homelessness. Social poverty means the absence of intimate relationships, of friends and loved ones or social isolation. Intellectual or mental poverty means an inadequacy of education and/or absence of interaction with others so that the individual does not partake in a life of the mind. This can be brought about through lack of schooling leading to illiteracy, or more commonly a culture of intellectual isolation. Spiritual poverty means the absence of any transcendent meaning in the experiences or activities of the individual. Transcendent meaning is that which permits us to see things that are bigger than ourselves -community, society or even the concept of God as that concept is understood by any individual. Emotional or aesthetic poverty means the absence of beauty within the person’s life, whether it is the beauty of the traditional arts, the natural environment, the urban world, or the absence of ceremony.
Art Partners is a visual arts program organized by the Kenora Association for Community Living. The program is open to all adults who want to explore their creative selves through painting and drawing while getting to know other members of their community. Focus is placed on the process of creating rather than the end visual result. In other words, you don’t have to paint like Picasso to participate. All you need is an open mind and a desire to have some fun!
A study done on students at the University of Utah, as referred to in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, found that if you ask someone why he is friendly with someone, he’ll say it is because he and his friend share similar attitudes. When you examine more carefully you find out what they actually share is similar activities.
KACL is one organization that believes that friendships and relationships are two of the most important components of achieving their vision of “A Meaningful and Satisfying Life for All”. In order to develop friendships and relationships it is important for individuals to share similar activities – together.
Many of the new programs and progress made to alleviating poverty during the past 10 years has been in those areas of poverty other than physical poverty. Art Partners has assisted in alleviating social, emotional, aesthetic intellectual, and spiritual poverty for many who have participated in its various classes