KAMLOOPS ARTS COUNCIL is excited to announce a new phase of the Crossing Bridges program which is made possible by $25,000 from the Aqueduct Foundation – The Leon and Thea Koerner Legacy Fund, and another $25,000 from the BC Arts Council for a total of $50,000 funding.
The Crossing Bridges Arts Outreach is an interactive multidisciplinary collaboration among the arts community, social service agencies and the at-risk communities they serve. Crossing Bridges delivers high-quality arts workshops to individuals who are vulnerable, at-risk, in crisis and in recovery. Crossing Bridges participants are provided a chance to explore their creativity and build their self-confidence in a supportive environment. The program employs local artists and art therapists, giving them the opportunity to develop arts workshops that will advance participants’ personal and social development. Our philosophy: Each person, no matter how marginalized, should have an opportunity to access and creatively express themselves, experience a sense of connectedness and a chance to be a contributing member of their community.
This funding will be such a boost to those in the community struggling to overcome addiction, poverty, homelessness, challenges related to mental health and/or physical or mental disabilities. The use of art within our cultures and everyday lives is important to keeping a balanced lifestyle and especially important during this time of pandemic when isolation and levels of stress and anxiety have increased. We are especially grateful that we will be able to put some of this funding towards Virtual Connectivity during the time of COVID-19 when many of our agency partners and their clients are still reeling and must find a way to revise their way of life in order to keep safe. Not all agencies have adequate space and procedures in place to resume in-person art workshops safely, so finding new and innovative ways to connect with those in need and helping them to use arts as a creative release or distraction from their worries is now more important than ever.
This funding will also allow us to build a curriculum and support system to help our instructor artists be mentored and in turn work as mentors with new artists and agency staff to build capacity. By educating staff at the agencies we are partnered with about art and art techniques, they will be able to continue art projects in their centres when they no longer have a Crossing Bridges instructor coming in regularly. We are also working to provide the artist instructors with more support, including Mental Health First and art therapy techniques for working with those in crisis.
This new phase of Crossing Bridges which focuses on inter-generational, inter-cultural work in the community takes place across Kamloops, on the traditional and unceded lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc within the ne Secwepemc.
Executive Director, Terri Hadwin says, “The Crossing Bridges Outreach program is one of our key offerings of making arts accessible in our community. We believe it to be our cornerstone. We know this program makes a difference in people’s lives and we are thankful that this financial support from the BC Arts Council and the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation allows us to continue to offer the program to the quality standards that we have been able to keep up through the years, since it’s inception in 2013. Even with COVID thrown at us, we have found ways to adapt this program, this funding is such a monumental part of how we will be able to cope with necessary alterations to the existing Crossing Bridges.”