ROCKLAND—For people who like to be creative but don’t consider themselves ‘artists,’ there is a new community group starting in late February to change that self-perception.
The Midcoast Art Hive is part of an international group network of Art Hives, which promote community art studios wherever there is interest. It can be as simple to a one-day pop-up event in a local library to a series of community events in a studio or gallery. Art Hives welcome everyone as artists and creators, no matter what their varying abilities.
Starting Sunday, February 25, from 1-4 p.m. and continuing the last Sunday of every month until June, The Art Loft in Rockland will be hosting space free to the public for the newly formed Midcoast Art Hive. People are welcome to drop in anytime between 1-4 p.m. or arrive at 1 p.m. and stay for the whole three hours.
Barbara Davis, a Camden-based psychotherapist, is organizing each Midcoast Art Hive. As an Art Loft instructor, she said: “I’ve found the some of the people who get the most out of my classes are the ones who tell me ‘I’m not an artist; I can’t do this.’ They can be the ones who find the process the most freeing and are able to express themselves. With the Midcoast Art Hive, we want to provide the free space and materials and encourage people to come in and just start making art.”
Davis, who had dual interests in therapy and art making growing up, had a catalyst moment while struggling to deal with her father’s illness as a teenager. “I just found that when I started drawing or making art I was happier and immersed in a place where I wasn’t thinking about my troubles,” she said. It was then that Davis decided she wanted a career that involved both psychotherapy and the arts.
“This is for people who don’t normally participate in making art, or don’t normally go to galleries and shows or spend money on art workshops,” said Davis. “If the barriers before were that you didn’t consider yourself ‘creative’ or you didn’t have the money to invest in an art-making workshop before, these Art Hives are a great way to participate.”
With help from The Art Loft, Davis also plans to offer free supplies such as cardboard, construction paper, recycled materials, magazines for collage, crayons, markers, water-based paints, yarn and fabric. “The reason we’re offering all of these materials is that people who want to create art, but are hesitant, usually feel if the materials are too precious, like oil paint or canvas, they worry they won’t create something ‘good enough’,” she said. “We want to take that pressure off with basic, everyday supplies.”
The Midcoast Art Hive is open to all ages with the request that parents stay with their children.
“Teenagers who want to come in and create are welcome, as well as older generations,” she said.
Davis said the structure of an art hive is not hierarchical; that is, no expert will be specifically taking on the role of “teacher” in each session. Participants will simply gravitate toward materials they find the most interesting and are encouraged to create. “We may end up sharing our skills with one another,” said Davis, “For example, I’m hoping someone who knows how to knit will show up as I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that and if people wish, I can teach them to draw. If someone is truly stuck, I’ll be happy to guide him or her. There will be some prompts and ideas just to get the process going.”
Davis added that Midcoast Art Hive welcomes any materials or supplies that participants want to bring and donate for the next Sunday session. A list of supplies/materials always needed: paper of varying sizes, shapes, colors and textures, pencils, working markers, water based paint, brushes, small cardboard boxes and tubes, wrapping paper, fabric scraps and yarn, beads, wire, matt board, string and yarn, masking and drafting tape, glue and glue sticks, glitter, pom-poms, cotton balls, cotton swabs, scissors, clean pine cones and small clean shells.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com