About AHA!

Arts Health Antigonish (AHA!) ( www.artshealthantigonish.org) was established in April, 2013 by Sustainable Antigonish (www.sustainableantigonish.ca), to explore the multifaceted relationships between the arts and the wellbeing and sustainability of our community, particularly to sustain the creative economy by providing employment opportunities for our artists. Our mission, arising from the four pillars of sustainability—social, economic, environmental, and cultural—is to foster all forms of creative expression for our community’s sustained health and vitality. AHA! has developed several regular community-building initiatives:

(a)  Presentations and participatory workshops encompassing our whole community, held at different locations for teaching and learning purposes through many artistic genres;

(b)  Projects offered to select populations, including (i) storytelling with young people (aged 11-14), funded by the Heartwood Centre for Community Youth Development and our Community Health Board (GASHA); (ii) a participatory workshop on the Eden Philosophy for long-term care facilities; (iii) a hospital-based two-artist program of music, visual and performance arts, funded by the Sisters of St. Martha and the AHA! Sustainability Fund;

(c)  Cross-training demonstration and hands-on practice workshops for artists, service workers and educators, including ceramics, clowning, collage, drama, music, photography, video-making, and writing, during which we teach art-for-health concepts and practices, and explore income-generating applications within our community;

(d) Alliance-building with our business community, e.g., a fashion show and fundraiser hosted by Aphrodite Art & Fashion and the Red Barn Gallery and Home Decor, featuring models aged 20-80;

(e) Participation in Open Mike nights at the Peoples Place public library;

(f)  Fundraising to foster AHA!’s sustainability, including establishment of the AHA! Sustainability Fund for the Arts, administered through the St Martha’s Hospital Foundation, and the Arthur Rivoire Arts Scholarship Fund at Antigonish East Education Centre;

(g) Maintenance and enhancement of the AHA! website, including blog and Facebook sites;

(h) Arts Space Inventory, a service learning project with Antigonish Culture Alive (www.antigonishculturealive.ca).

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