Art workshops focus on mental health

Planting Seeds, a new art project funded by the Ontario Arts Council, will encourage conversations about mental health in the community. The Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio (OV-CAOS), Rainbow Valley Community Health Centre (Rainbow Valley CHC) and the Community Resource Centre (Killaloe) (CRC) will host three community art workshops in Killaloe that will result in a public exhibition and parade. The project uses the theme of gardening to grow and deepen the conversation around mental health in the community through art-making and focused conversation. The workshops are free and open to all. They will take place March 2, March 30 and April 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. at 12 North St. Community Centre in Killaloe.

At these workshops, OV-CAOS artist-facilitators will guide participants in making miniature worlds that reflect the experiences, concerns and hopes for mental health of the participants. The miniature worlds will become part of five public art installations housed in venues around the village of Killaloe. They will be unveiled during May. The artist facilitators for Planting Seeds include:

  • Tanya Lyons, glass artist based in Killaloe
  • Linda Archibald, Mental Health Project Liaison, from Rainbow Valley CHC

Jumblies Theatre, the community arts group that unrolled the Four Lands project at venues throughout the Valley in 2016 will provide informal mentoring at the workshops.


Organizers say the Planting Seeds project grew out of questions about how the community can better care for those with mental health challenges, caregivers and one another. They hope to reduce stigma by bringing people together to further the conversation about mental health. Art-making is well known for its healing and community-building benefits. As a community arts organization, OV-CAOS understands the power of people making art together by nurturing personal and collective imaginations.

The project title Planting Seeds has a literal meaning based on discussions with Rainbow Valley CHC about the possibility of creating a mental health garden on their grounds at 49 Mill Street in Killaloe – a future green space dedicated to peace, healing and contemplation. The project will inform the next steps for a mental health garden, and will document the concerns, questions and recommended actions needed to support the mental health of everyone in the community.


Featured photo at top: Tea with a friend (Four Lands by Jumblies Theatre)

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