Walking into La Ruche for the first time was like entering a dream realized. The first thing I saw was a small exhibit of nests. This Magpie was at home. Walking into my first day of Community Art Studio: Methods and Materials, taught at La Ruche, I realized that to most people in the class this was just a normal part of the community. I was trying to play it cool as I looked around at all the amazing creations lining the shelves and walls. I hope to create a studio like this in Vancouver, but had never stepped into a true community art studio, and definitely not on this large scale. La Ruche fits in very well in the St Henri neighbourhood and serves that community, as well as others who come from around the city (and country in my case) to create together during open studio hours Fri-Sat 2-7. They are also exploring a teaching model that takes learning out of the classroom and into the community. It seemed perfectly apt that a course about community art should take place in La Ruche, a community art studio founded by the course’s teacher, Janis Timm-Bottos.
Learning about starting my own studio in this setting was truly amazing, and I felt for the first time that I was nestled firmly in my niche, with a group of likeminded people. Participating in the open studio day took this learning and the joy of creating to new heights. It is a very natural and laid back atmosphere, and art making joins seamlessly with the surrounding nature and garden. Participants of all ages mingle and work together or separately, painting, experimenting, planting a garden, sampling garlic grown in the garden and socializing. While there, I talked with many community members, and classmates, and felt the creative spirit take hold of me. I was so inspired, and after helping to plant a garden, I made a fairy to live there. It was amazing to have the chance to step back from facilitating and actually create, which I realized I had been missing. These studios give the gift of creativity to each person to create and be valued equally whether they come in as community member, tourist, artist or La Ruche facilitator.
The feeling of sitting in the garden, helping to harvest green beans, seeing a new painting come to life, and meeting wonderful people will stick with me, and the feeling of being valued and welcomed will carry me through the incredible uphill climb of creating a feeling of home away from home in Vancouver.
Check them out on FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Ruche-dArt-St-Henri/174341355959676