“The Dead Heron.” #100Herons Art Project

I am between contracts– creatively hustling while applying for new contracts to survive and to be able to provide specially requested arts programming for refugee youth (at no cost to their program).  That is what my 100 Herons Art Project is all about.  

HERON’S MOST SIGNIFICANT ESSENCE: aggressive self-determination and self-reliance

Check out:

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I am focusing on the Pacific Blue Herons who are nesting just down the block from me in Stanley Park, Vancouver:

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THE DEAD HERON:

Recall that on June 15, 2017, I took a walk to the heron nests to look for some feathers in the grass for collaging… and I came across a LARGE pile of scattered heron feathers– obviously from a heron who fell or was pushed out of the nest and who likely lost its life to a predator.  A teen heron perhaps?  I gathered as many feathers as I could– thanking and honoring the heron’s life by incorporating the feathers into the art.

A feather from a heron symbolizes patience, grace and confidence…

Recall as well that I took the feathers home, soaked them in gentle detergent to clean and disinfect, and laid them out on newsprint to dry them.  I then categorized them and collected them into mason jars.

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I have been incorporating the feathers into the 100 Herons Panels.  For example:

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A week ago, I came across what was likely the body of that heron whose feathers I collected.  I felt so moved.  Compelled to examine.  (Yes, those are maggots and blow flies doing their work).

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In fact, I have been a bit obsessed.  I kept walking back to the spot witnessing the taphonomy process: the transition of animal remains from the biosphere into the lithosphere.

Biosphere: the regions of the surface, atmosphere, and hydrosphere of the earth occupied by living organisms.

Lithosphere: the rigid outer part of the earth, consisting of the crust and upper mantle.

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Yesterday, I decided to sit down beside the decaying remains and draw the little thing- thanking it and honoring it.  I was, in all honesty, tempted to take the skull, but sitting there under the nests– the atmosphere strangely silent– I knew I was simply there to be a witness.  And to leave the heron to its process.

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I left a little flower and went home to incorporate the moment into, what is now, the 5th panel.

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$375.00 of the $2500 goal raised so far.  My goal by the end of this long weekend is to reach $750.00.  My first session with the refugee youth group is booked for July 13, 2017, and I hope to be able to bring not only drawing supplies for the session but art kits for the 26+ youth on that day that they can take with them.

Thank you to my donors so far and for all of you spreading the word.

THE PROJECT: 

I am creating of twelve (OR MORE 20″ x 30″ panels depicting a total 100 Herons between June 14 to July 31, 2017.  The panels will be exhibited and sold.

For every $25 raised I will draw a heron!

THE SPONSORED ART will allow me to develop and provide FREE ART LESSONS for REFUGEE YOUTH from war-torn countries at a Lower Mainland program. Funds go to program development and facilitation fee, art supplies, art kits for participants, travel costs.

DONATION BUTTON:

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I will be drawing a heron for every $25 raised!

Any amount welcome!  Donors of $10.00 CAD or more can choose to have their name and/or a special message woven into Heron nest imagery in the panels.

You can donate via PayPal or email transfer britakatarina@gmail.com.  I can provide receipts.

Check the panels at:

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I currently have several 20″ x 30″ panels in progress.  They are being embroidered and embellished.  They will be exhibited at various community events in August!

INTERESTED IN PRE-PURCHASING PANELS?

The panels are being made available for pre-purchase on my ETSY site:

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INSIDE OUT PROJECT- breaking the cycle of violence through creativity: Activities Report Summer 2015

Inside Out Project Summer 2015 was made possible by a generous grant from the Province of British Columbia – Ministry of Justice: Victim Services and Crime Prevention  Division

INSIDE OUT PROJECT- OWN YOUR JOURNEY: breaking the cycle of violence through creativity Activities Report

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Location: Mountainside Secondary School, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Instructors:

Ian Powell: photography, digital media

Kat Thorsen: therapeutic art

Erin Ross: animation

The Inside Out Project Summer 2015 was a three-week intensive arts-based program for youth ages 13-20. Using therapeutic art, photography and stop motion animation participants were taught skills in self-empowerment, peer-to-peer interaction, and how to make healthy, non-violent choices. The goal for the Inside Out Project was to help youth-at-risk address the root causes of violence (with a special focus on violence against women) through creative expression.

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Arts-based prevention programs allow for alternative experiences of what life can be like, helping at-risk students discover their own talents and creative energy and providing opportunities to develop their inner resources and explore new options for the future. Using a rich and creative curriculum around the themes of violence prevention, self-actualization, empowerment and creativity– facilitators of the Inside Out Project encourage participants to own their journeys.

The Inside Out Project engages participants with the arts, allowing for successful experiences on which to build the resilience and psychological hardiness as well as providing tools to be able to better meet personal and community challenges and to make healthy, non-violent choices.

Between July 6 and July 24, 2015, 11 participants completed the three-week curriculum.

Week 1 Highlights

• Chalk Talk: How does violence affect how people live their lives?

Photography introduction

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Vancouver Police Foundation Mounted Squad field trip

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• Art journals

• Discussion and reflection on Shane Koyczan’s Ted Talk: To this day- for the bullied and the beautiful.

• Animation introduction

Check out more about week 1:

Day 1

Day 2- VPD Horses

Day 3- animation and anatomical hearts

Day 4 and 5- digging deeper

Week 2 Highlights

• Journaling

• Public Service Announcement discussion

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• Project planning

• Animation project: Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson (individual and group projects)

Week 3 Highlights

• Film interviews

• Craftivism: Operation Sock Monkey: “200 Sock Monkeys for Nepal” (benefitting KYT Foundation)

• Animation completion

• #BESTYOUth Emotional Intelligence Workshop (with guest facilitator, Laura Mack)

• Celebration

LIFE SKILLS addressed during the three-week curriculum included:

o Anxiety tools

o Emotional intelligence

o Self-reflection

o Motivation

o Journaling

o Behavioral pattern recognition

o Teamwork

o Chalk talk

o Peer to peer counseling

o Project planning

o Mind mapping

o Interview skills

o Creative process and expression.

CHALK TALK defined:

Three groups of 3-4 students work on three sheets of large paper, silently writing on the topic: how does violence affect how people live their lives? Each group moves at regular intervals to each of the three sheets- adding their thoughts and reflections on existing work. A large group discussion follows. The discussion and subsequent key points serve as a starting point for the final group video project around the theme of violence prevention.

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FINAL GROUP VIDEO PROJECT OUTLINE:

Title: Inside Out Project- Own Your Journey

Subtitle: Breaking the Cycle of Violence Through Creativity

Chalk Talk: footage and audio (participant interviews)

Participant Interview:

Like nothing mattered other than drugs. Honestly, I didn’t even care about myself. I didn’t care about what I did. I didn’t care about going to jail. I didn’t care about dying. I didn’t care about anything. I just cared about using. And that is not who I am. It’s crazy how different it made me, like, I don’t think I would recognize myself I saw myself on the street like that.

Animation compilation:

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(interpreting and animating the poem “Autobiography in five short chapters” by Portia Nelson, ©1993)

I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in.

I am lost … I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place

but it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in … it’s a habit.

My eyes are open

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

Back to Central Interview:

Well, like, I guess when I’m being creative, it lets me let out all my emotions and like everything that I’m thinking, just like, let me be crazy on a page or whatever… and like when I used heroin it would, like, take it into me again. It wouldn’t let it out. It would just shove it back down and make me feel better that way. Instead of expressing it. That’s why I think I should probably do more art. 

Tagline: Do more art.

Timelapse: youth artist portrait painting.

Credits

FINAL PROJECT LINK: INSIDE OUT PSA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-9R1pgxJHY

PARTICIPANT REFLECTION:

The Inside Out Project run by Kat Thorsen, Erin Ross, and Ian Powell this July truly changed my life. Two days before the program started I lost a friend to a heroin overdose. I could have chosen to fall back into my own heroin addiction but the Inside Out Project helped me stay strong throughout this hard time in my life. Honestly, I don’t think I would have made it through without the love, support and whole-hearted care everyone in the program gave me. The Inside Out Project saved me from myself. It saved my life. – Miko

PROGRAM ENHANCEMENTS:

Vancouver Police Department Mounted Squad field trip: tour with Cst. Darcy Henkel, discussion on violence prevention and use of horses, as well as photo essay opportunities. PHOTO ESSAY LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAE1F99nQXM

Operation Sock Monkey (OSM) craftivism workshop: OSM is a volunteer-run initiative in support of humanitarian organizations that provide laughter, hope and healing to communities around the world affected by disease, disaster and social/political turmoil.

The 200 SockMonkeys For Nepal project: LINK

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#BESTYOUth- Growing Together (ViRTUS /TELUS ®): emotional intelligence workshop with guest facilitator Laura Mack.

Key learnings from #BESTYOUth:

o Get to know your best self

o You always have a choice

o Your values are your inner GPS

o You can learn how not to snap

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A SMALL SAMPLING OF PROGRAM MOMENTS:

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Wow- even though I KNOW, from years of experience, that art heals, art builds connections and art saves lives- experiencing it again and again never ceases to amaze me. I just completed a three week intensive with 11 amazing youth. (I am so honored to have worked with you all!) It takes a lot of courage to dig deep and these 11 youth certainly did that. Watching them develop and form connections in these past three weeks has certainly been a highlight in my career as therapeutic art facilitator. [Special mention to Miko Philip for bravely sharing her personal story on which we could build our creative expression.] Here is their final project video on the theme of “breaking the cycle of violence through creativity.” Huge thank you’s as well to Ian Powell,Erin Ross for developing and facilitating this program with me. And thank you’s to Lenore Kane and Laura Mack for adding significant enrichment to it. – Katarina Thorsen, July 24, 2015

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STAY TUNED FOR MORE ARTS-BASED YOUTH PROGRAMMING:

“INSIDE OUT PROJECT 2016”

AND

“EMPOWER YOUTH CONSULTING SERVICES”

Day 4 and 5 Inside Out Project Summer 2015: Digging Deeper

INSIDE OUT PROJECT: OWN YOUR JOURNEY- Breaking the cycle of violence through creativity

Inside Out Project – Own Your Journey SUMMER 2015 is a three week intensive arts-based program running out of Mountainside Secondary School (July 6-24, 2015) for youth ages 13-20 that uses the vehicles of therapeutic art, photography and stop motion animation to teach life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction, community connections and by providing tools to make healthy, non-violent choices. The goal for Inside Out is to help students address the root causes of violence (with a special focus on violence against women) through creative expression. The program allows students to creatively reflect on self, to work in a team and to experience critical engagement and transformative changes that shift their attitudes and behaviors in order to prevent violence. Three experienced facilitators (Ian Powell, Erin Ross, Kat Thorsen) provide instruction and support.

Recall

Day 1, July 6, 2015: Own Your Journey LINK

Day 2, July 7, 2015: VPD Mounted Unit LINK

Day 3, July 8, 2015: Animation and anatomical hearts LINK

Day 4 and 5: Digging in deeper.

We were busy last few days!  Hands-On Animation Tests, Public Service Announcement Discussions, Mind Mapping, Shane Koyczan TEDTalk, Project Planning, Therapeutic Arts and Crafts, Dialoguing, Creative Process etc…

What I love seeing unfold are the connections forming within the group.

Here are some highlights from Day 4 and 5:     —

I sit before flowers
hoping they will train me in the art
of opening up

I stand on mountain tops believing
that avalanches will teach me to let go

I know
nothing

but I am here to learn.
― Shane Koyczan

                  —

It has quickly become apparent that this is our hub/dialogue/creativity table. We move back and forth naturally between the computer lab and this room where we do old fashioned handmade stuff and group dialogue/mindmapping.

It hurts to stretch your wings. But doesn’t it hurt even more to let them atrophy?

You can survive without Creativity. But you won’t ever come fully alive & unapologetically yourself, unless you practice it, every damn day. – Andréa Balt, Creative Rehab

  

Next week we begin our group animation project!  Stay tuned!

The Inside Out Project- Own Your Journey Summer 2015 is offered to youth at no cost thanks to a grant from the Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) in partnership with the Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division (VSCPD), BC Ministry of Justice.

CHECK OUT:

Day 3 Inside Out Project Summer 2015 #ownyourjourney Day 3: animation and anatomical hearts

INSIDE OUT PROJECT: OWN YOUR JOURNEY- Breaking the cycle of violence through creativity

Inside Out Project – Own Your Journey SUMMER 2015 is a three week intensive arts-based program running out of Mountainside Secondary School (July 6-24, 2015) for youth ages 13-20 that uses the vehicles of therapeutic art, photography and stop motion animation to teach life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction, community connections and by providing tools to make healthy, non-violent choices. The goal for Inside Out is to help students address the root causes of violence (with a special focus on violence against women) through creative expression. The program allows students to creatively reflect on self, to work in a team and to experience critical engagement and transformative changes that shift their attitudes and behaviors in order to prevent violence. Three experienced facilitators (Ian Powell, Erin Ross, Kat Thorsen) provide instruction and support.

Recall

Day 1, July 6, 2015: LINK

Day 2, July 7, 2015: LINK

DAY 3: ANIMATION AND ANATOMICAL HEARTS

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Today we were introduced to the principals of animation from Erin Ross as we prepare to tackle our big group project: a collaborative stop motion  animation short on the theme of violence prevention.

We also worked on colouring and embroidering anatomical hearts for our art journal covers.   

There’s nothing harder to do in animation than nothing. Movement is our medium.

– Milt Kahl

          

Day 1: Inside Out Project: Own Your Journey Summer 2015 arts-based youth program

INSIDE OUT PROJECT: OWN YOUR JOURNEY- Breaking the cycle of violence through creativity

Inside Out Project – Own Your Journey SUMMER 2015 is a three week intensive arts-based program running out of Mountainside Secondary School (July 6-24, 2015) for youth ages 13-20 that uses the vehicles of therapeutic art, photography and stop motion animation to teach life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction, community connections and by providing tools to make healthy, non-violent choices. The goal for Inside Out is to help students address the root causes of violence (with a special focus on violence against women) through creative expression. The program allows students to creatively reflect on self, to work in a team and to experience critical engagement and transformative changes that shift their attitudes and behaviors in order to prevent violence. Three experienced facilitators (Ian Powell, Erin Ross, Kat Thorsen) provide instruction and support.

The program begins with a focus on self, moves into teamwork and ultimately into community.

Week 1: SELF

Photography, therapeutic art, journaling, drawing to focus on self-regulation and creative process

Week 2: TEAM

Team building, project planning, stop motion animation, self and group-directed learning

Week 3: COMMUNITY

Project completion, self-evaluation, community outreach, presentation and celebration

This program is offered to youth at no cost thanks to a grant from the Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) in partnership with the Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division (VSCPD), BC Ministry of Justice.

Day 1 highlights include:

journaling, drawing, Chalk Talk, photography (including exposure triangle and DSLR 101).

Mindy! 1 of 2 Inside Out mascots!
                  

Animating Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree at Mountainside Secondary.

An extension of the Inside Out Project Own Your Journey  at Mountainside Secondary 2014-2015, the animation portion- spearheaded by my colleague and dear friend, Ian Powell- engaged students in a deep and meaningful way.  Ian chose The Red Tree by Shaun Tan as the vehicle to help students address social and emotional intelligence, self-reflection and empowerment as well as project planning and passion-based learning.  Students worked individually or in small groups to interpret and animate each page of the dark and remarkable book:

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Image source

The Red Tree is a story without any particular narrative; a series of distinct imaginary worlds as self-contained images which invite readers to draw their own meaning in the absence of any written explanation. As a concept, the book is inspired by the impulse of children and adults alike to describe feelings using metaphor – monsters, storms, sunshine, rainbows and so on. Moving beyond cliché, I sought painted images that might further explore the expressive possibilities of this kind of shared imagination, which could be at once strange and familiar. A nameless young girl appears in every picture, a stand-in for ourselves; she passes helplessly through many dark moments, yet ultimately finds something hopeful at the end of her journey. Shaun Tan – source

 Congratulations to all who worked on the piece. Your interpretations are breathtaking and your dedication to the project an inspiration!

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Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree, Mountainside Secondary School 2015:

The Alpha Secondary School heART Project Sessions 1-4 of 6

The Alpha Secondary School heART Project

Youth-run initiative using the vehicle of street art to address social and emotional intelligence and life- and transferable skills, while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction and community connections

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I am delighted to be working with Yasmin Tayob and Michele Lopez and extraordinary students and volunteers on a wall installation at Alpha Secondary School in Burnaby BC.  The heart of the project is to encourage youth to project plan around a theme and produce an art piece for a particular space, all the while addressing social and emotional intelligence and personal empowerment.

The image of the anatomical heart has invited both personal and group exploration around the issues that churn in our hearts.  As a group, we celebrate the power of connection and creative expression.

Here is a random gallery of our last 4 after school sessions:

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Next up is finalizing the large piece and installing the 8×8 foot piece in the stairwell!

FRAMES FILM PROJECT INTAKE 8 GRAD MARCH 28, 2015!

FRAMES FILM PROJECT INTAKE 8 GRAD MARCH 28, 2015!

I am getting ready to hand over my position as program coordinator of Frames Film Project on March 28, 2015 to new blood!  I am off to new horizons including my art career and freelance therapeutic art facilitation (as opposed to coordinating programming).

Come celebrate with me as we honor our Intake 8 grads!  

FREE ADMISSION, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE: LINK

INVITE INTAKE 8 MAR 28

An incredible group of dedicated youth are in the process of completing public service announcements for:

H.E.L.P. Street Youth

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The H.E.L.P. for Street Youth Scholarship Fund offers funds to qualifying youth to attend school (trade, vocational etc.) leading to successful employment.

and

North Shore Restorative Justice Society- Circles in Schools

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Circles in Schools is a strengths-based program that gives our children and youth the skills to transform conflict, heal relationships, and create stronger communities themselves.

We just completed a full weekend of filming and now we head into editing mode!  

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Photo by Jeffrey Lyons. “Frames mascot for filming with “Circles in School” a community volunteer group that help at risk youth have a safe place!” (horse owned by Jennifer Chow, who is creating a short film, premiering at the Grad, entitled, “I only draw horses from the left…”

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H.E.L.P. STORYBOARD 2
Storyboard by Shauna Chin
Storyboard by Shauna Chin
Storyboard by Shauna Chin

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Frames Film Project is a Vancouver-based film production and life skills program that provides opportunities for youth to learn the basics of filmmaking in a supportive, safe and fun environment, at no cost.

Next intake: MAY 2015

Huge thank you to:

my co-faciltators, Kryshan Randel and Jennifer Lyons

our supervisor Shawna Smith and director Gary Dobbin

our volunteer Katie Bennison

our guest speakers

our clients, Cara Sinclair and Lindy Pfeil

our funders

our actor, Elijah Snakeskin

and

Intake 8 youth:

Christina Capilano

Jennifer Chow

Aleister Gwynne

Jeffrey Lyons

Shauna Chin

Sves Yeung

Nina Vestergaard

Frames Film Project is brought to you by frogsHollowLogoOnTop

Intake 8 is possible through the generous support from:

 Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch: Ministry of Justice 

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and 

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

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