AHA! 2017

AHA! Reflects on 2017……….

What a fabulous year Arts Health Antigonish (AHA!) enjoyed in 2017!  We expanded our activities to include not only programming, for both community and for specific populations, but also education and research.

November 2017, Arts-Health Month, was celebrated by offering a Dance For Life extravaganza at Immaculata Auditorium, where we renewed our commitment to peace and friendship between the Miq’maq community and our multicultural community, then celebrated our diverse community through dance. This was followed by an Art and Activism Workshop with Liliona Quarmyne, featuring her work in Ghana.

We extended our reach with youth this past year to Richmond County, where our Musical Pathways program began in two schools, facilitated by music teacher Keith MacDonald.  We are delighted to have Keith working with AHA!. This program, coordinated by Rachel Power, will be offered in Paq’tnkek and Sherbrooke in 2018.

Rachel Power continued with Art Care at St Martha’s Regional Hospital in 2017, celebrating the launch of the Paper Crane Project: http://www.nshealth.ca/news/gratitude-healing-hope-paper-crane-project-st-marthas-regional-hospital , as well as facilitating individual and group art sessions for those in hospital.

Arts Canopy, AHA!’s arts in dementia care program coordinated by Mary Partridge, https://www.artshealthantigonish.org/projects/arts-canopy-project/

expanded in 2017, with 13 x 10 week sessions taking place at the RK MacDonald Nursing Home, Highland Crest Nursing Home and Bethany…… in music, visual arts, poetry, pottery and movement/dance, with several professional artist facilitators.  We are delighted that this program will now continue throughout 2018!

Our education opportunities, primarily available for artist facilitators in 2017, are pilots for more accessible workshops for other communities in the future. We have trained artist facilitators for work with youth and with seniors with dementia.  We hope to have workshops for caregivers of those with dementia coming soon! In 2017, we presented at the Dalhousie Medical Humanities Conference and we partnered with the NS Centre for Aging to offer a session on Creative Aging at the Antigonish People’s Place Library to celebrate their 25 year anniversary.

The first AHA! research project with St FX, ‘Exploring Arts Based Programming in Health and Wellbeing’, is available on our website:  https://www.artshealthantigonish.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Exploring-Arts-based-Programming-in-Health-Wellbeing-AHA-Report.pdf  We were thrilled to have the StFX academic community see the value of our programs and have an interest in mapping program outcomes with the Social Determinants of Health. We hope this leads to further collaborations as StFX explores creating arts-health courses and learning opportunities for their students in their new curriculum. Our connection with StFX was also strengthened with engaging more service learning students in our projects in 2017.

Many, many thanks to those of you interested in our work and supporting our work in diverse ways.  To hear more about us and what we do, please join us at our open celebration of 5 years of bringing arts for health to the Antigonish area on May 1, 2018, 4-6 pm, in the Rhubarb Patch at the RK MacDonald Nursing Home. We’d love to see you there!