Creative Care for Ourselves and Our Communities:

A workshop series with CHSSN to support artists’ mental health

The Creative Care project aims to support the mental health and well-being of artists in Quebec through a series of workshops and events offered by health professionals and community members.

The project draws on a variety of approaches to well-being and healing practices to offer resources for artists to engage in self care, community care, and build their creative capacity. Workshops will be offered both online and in person and will include topics related to mindfulness, burnout, dramatherapy for the home work space, embodiment, and community care networks. This project is funded by the Community Health And Social Services Network (CHSSN).

There will be 5 workshops offered monthly between October 2023 and February 2024. Priority will be given to participants who can attend all or most of the five workshops. Participation is free of charge. Follow the link below to register for the series.
Apply HERE by October 5, 2023 to participate.

Upcoming Workshop Series

1. Self-nourishment: The inner child and the artistic process

October 17, 2023

Facilitator: Alyssa Kuzmarov

Self-care is a term that is used quite frequently nowadays, but how can we take care of ourselves in a meaningful way so as to really address some of our deepest needs? Our inner children represent some of those deepest needs – both needs that were not met and also needs that were. The wounded child and the playful child. Through a series of exercises and activities, this workshop led by film maker and social worker Alyssa Kuzmarov will explore how our inner child can hold us back and also how that same inner child can lead us to a deeper reconnection with joy, wonder and imagination, all elements that are essential to our artistic process. Starting this artist series by looking to the past and deep within, the intention is to set in motion an exploration of how we can undo some of the negative thinking that blocks our process and then tapping into the joy of what we do and who we are. As a first workshop in the series, there will be time for introductions and getting to know each other as a group as well. 

Please bring a photo of yourself as a child with you to the workshop as well a photo of your adult self (printed photo, not digital). Other materials to have accessible: basic art materials  (example: colored paper, pencils, scissors, glue, coloring materials, markers or whatever you have at home).

Alyssa Kuzmarov, social worker and filmmaker, is passionate about making film accessible to people rarely represented in the media. Alyssa, along with Jean-Michel Sauri through their production company Productions Oracle, has produced and directed over 40 film projects with schools, community organizations and youth and families of all backgrounds, including RESILIENCE (2021), a docu-fiction based on the real life experiences of youth in the Youth Protection System and youth under the jurisdiction of the Young Offender’s Act.

2. Building trust: Body awareness and the artistic intention

November 7, 2023

Facilitator: Ariana Pedrosa

Sometimes do you feel blocked, held back or limited in your creative work?  Do you feel back pain or postural discomfort after a session in the studio, on set or in performance? The Alexander Technique is a simple and practical somatic method that allows you to relieve pain and stress, develop your attention, and discover new possibilities in your artistic practice. 

The Alexander Technique invites freedom in the body through a process for observing and changing habits. Freedom is a mindset born from trust in the body’s ability to coordinate itself around our intention. This trust is fostered or inhibited by our patterns of thought and permeates the whole nervous system. Cultivating this trust allows us to connect directly with our artistic intention, and for our bodies to create and express that intention with greater ease.

Musician and Alexander Technique teacher Ariana Pedrosa will lead us through guided awareness activities and practical discussions on how to connect more deeply with ourselves and our artistic practices through the principles of the Alexander Technique.

Ariana Pedrosa is fascinated by the study of mind/body. With a background in music as a classical bassoonist, Ariana is also a pedagogue and movement researcher. It is through the Alexander Technique she works with artists to optimize performance by developing skilful body awareness.

3. Understanding and avoiding burnout

November 28, 2023

Facilitator: Emmanuelle Meunier

With new research discovering that more than a third of all Canadians are feeling exhausted, the phenomenon of burnout is sadly becoming commonplace. But what is burnout exactly, who is more at-risk, how does it affect artists, and how can we equip ourselves to thrive in this challenging world of work? Drawing on various self care activities and research-based strategies, this workshop will feature experiential activities involving expressive arts facilitated by art therapist Emmanuelle Meunier. No prior experience in visual arts necessary.  Please come prepared with basic art materials  (example: pencils, scissors, glue, coloring materials, markers or whatever you have at home).

Emmanuelle Meunier is a creative journaling artist and trained art therapist. She loves working with various individuals and ethnicities and has a niche working with youth from 5 to 17 years old. She researched the topic of self care and burnout prevention while in graduate school (Concordia University) and is passionate about sharing her results with artists and the general public.

4. From isolation to connection: Building resilient communities

January 16, 2024

Facilitator: Andy MacDonald

While the public may hold a romanticized view of artists’ lives, we face unique challenges and pressures that make it difficult to build thriving communities. The realities of being an artist (demanding schedules, creative pressures, financial uncertainty and frequent travel) can also make artists more vulnerable to addiction-related risks.

By engaging in interactive arts-based activities and stimulating discussions, participants will acquire effective tactics for community building and gain insights into how community support can nurture mental well-being and resilience. We will encourage participants to actively participate in “social homework” outside of the workshop to reinforce the discussed principles.

Andy MacDonald is an improvising musician, composer and a Certified Music Therapist. As a healthcare professional, Andy has experience in mental health, geriatrics, and addictions services. His mission is rooted in helping individuals, families, and communities unlock their full health and well-being potential through music-based activities, including improvisation, songwriting, and mindful listening.

5. Big Magic and where to go from here 

February 20, 2024

Facilitator: Alyssa Kuzmarov

Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, focuses on how to attract artistic ideas and to create what we are yearning to and meant to create. Setting intentions is a powerful way to attract what we want into our lives, and so, this workshop led by film maker and social worker Alyssa Kuzmarov will focus on visualizing, vocalizing and inviting in the Big Magic that we seek. Clarifying for ourselves what we want to continue doing in our lives and what we hope to explore as next steps. As the final workshop in the series, there will be time to process the concepts learned and to share experiences of the topics and activities. There will also be time for closure activities to bring the circle to a close in a meaningful way.

Follow ELAN’s Facebook page and Instagram account for workshop announcements.