Blog - Len Macleod's Drawing For Well-being program

For those members who may not be aware of our Mandate and Vision; we are pleased to provide it:

To foster the cultural enrichment of South Simcoe
by developing widespread appreciation of, support for,
and involvement with the Arts.

To continually enhance our collaborations with our community partners which in turn enriches and enhances arts and culture events;
to inspire all artists to develop creatively; to enable them to feel encouraged; to express themselves with new and fresh approaches; to provide forums for all artists to share their work and talent in our communities.

Our specific ARTISTIC GOAL is to increase our series of educational workshops for all youth, emerging and new generation artists; to strengthen skills and share knowledge; to educate all artists to the use of social media for their benefit, thus capturing their further interest.

This year, contingent upon funding received, we have proposed to include aid and support to artists who aim to outreach to child/youth/adults, to include those budding artists unable to easily access the arts. This may be for various reasons including financial and rural location. We believe in the beneficial effects of the arts on personal fulfillment and social inclusion. We encourage this outreach and strive to help in any way we can.

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We have lent our support to CONTACT Community Services to help in their “Recycled Inspirations” program for elderly/people at risk in the community.

In January, we began the Drawing For Wellbeing programme; a programme conceived, fundraised and launched by Len MacLeod. It’s a two-dimensional programme that offers drawing classes 1. to Angus and area community members (subsidized by fundraising) and 2. to area social service agencies at nominal cost.

One social service agency’s 10 sessions of classes began in January and are just now coming to an end. The subsidized community drawing programme was introduced to the community members of Angus and area through a 2-hour, all ages drawing class, followed by a 6-session class for adults.

The programme goal is to encourage wellbeing through: 1. the stress relieving activity of drawing; 2. upholding the dignity and value of each person; and 3. overcoming economic and social stigmatization and barriers.

The 18 participants in the subsidized community classes learned about the Drawing For Wellbeing programme through the Essa Lifestyles Residence, area social service agencies, the Essa Public Library, the South Simcoe Arts Council and word of mouth.

The activity of drawing has recognized, multi-faceted benefits that encourage wellbeing by being meditative, lowering stress and anxiety, encouraging positive life experiences and promoting confidence and self-esteem.

To overcome potential barriers inhibiting the renewing and rejuvenating benefits of drawing, the class content actively practices drawing and stress-relieving techniques. The drawing techniques practice: using the elements of art to block in the basics shapes; refining line and shape to achieve scaled proportion; using various shading techniques to portray dimensionality; and employing the principles of art to create balanced and impactful images. Stress-relieving techniques target physical tension and focus by: low-impact, seated stretches; mindful, seated, diaphragmatic breathing; focusing on positive affirmations; and shifting focus from personal ability to observational learning and drawing is a demonstration what is learned, each time.

The participants themselves demonstrate that group drawing positively affects well-being through positive conversations, fun interactions and laughter!

Over March Break, thank you to Michelle Eissler, the South Simcoe Arts Council has actively commenced to present courses of interest to our Membership on site. The turn out and enthusiasm generated great interest attracting additional new faces to the Arts Council. We welcome everyone's involvement!