Updated: Apr 10
As an artist, visual art workshop facilitator and a small business owner on the Sunshine Coast, community connections and collaborations are the 'key' to new ideas and growth.
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Chony's Art Room was officially launched at the beginning of 2021 after being selected for and completing The Refinery small business creative incubator project. Simply wanting to share my love of art and experience teaching visual arts I was hoping to run a few after school art classes for children on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.
Having relocated back to the Coast after a long hiatus living and teaching abroad, I realised that the key to building a business such as mine meant that I needed to gain the respect of the local community. So, I started saying 'yes' to almost any arts related work and while teaching gave above and beyond of myself to all of my students. This whole notion of saying 'yes' extended to supporting local artists by attending their exhibitions, collaborating with them sometimes for free and calling people out of the blue to introduce myself and my dream.
The diversity of visual art workshops for all ages and spaces that I was asked to be apart of around the Sunshine Coast continued to grow and gain momentum. Collaborating with Japanese artist Hiromi Tango and The Caloundra Regional Gallery, for her 'Healing Garden' exhibition was a wonderful link between my belief of art as being mindful and productive for mental health. Learning Hiromi's tissue flower making technique and teaching it across all of my weekly workshops including 'Expressive Art Group' art as therapy groups for NDIS funded adults, Coolum Hearts and Early Learning Centre art workshops. Flowers from these workshops were collected and displayed as part of the galley exhibition.
Photography by Down The Rabbit Hole Productions
Coolum Hearts Monday morning art class - students making tissue paper flowers for Hiromi's exhibition
Being invited by Sue Davis, curator of The Wild Flower Women to be an artist involved in a rolling residency at The Maroochy Bushlands Botanical Gardens exhibition space was a really new and very exciting opportunity for me. This project again aligned with my love of nature, mindfulness and art. Facilitating a nature brush making and intuitive mark making workshops alongside creating my own series of eco-ink, multi-media inspired works of art that were exhibited at the opening was truly heart warming.
Third Nature Projects, 'Bloomin Marvellous' nature based art workshops that are designed and facilitated by Liz Caplain and supported by the Sunshine Coast Council is another collaboration that build connections to places, spaces, people and possibilities for the future.
Creating connections, pushing your boundaries and saying 'yes', has led me down a path less traveled however, continues to weave in and out extremely rewarding creative endeavours that reach and work to heal the hearts of all humans who choose to walk alongside us.
My goal this year is to continue connecting and building growth through community. Trying my very best to encourage each student, no matter who they are, or how old they are to tap into, trust and express their inner artist.