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YESPACE

In 1998, three lead visual artists worked with over 130 neighbourhood residents worked on this collective interior design project, transforming an old dull school structure into a welcoming vibrant community centre. The project connected the Francophone and Aboriginal communities to come together to identify common values they wanted reflected in their centre. With the lead artists’ guidance in facilitation, these values were represented through their artistic techniques, also leading a transformative relationship building with neighbours in the creation of three twelve-foot collective sculptures, exuberant colours and designs on all of the center’s tables and chairs, a children’s playroom entitled ‘The Cloud Room’ painted in dreamlike themes, white buffaloes on the doors and poetry on the walls. Together they created a warm, stimulating environment that is now the pride of the neighbourhood now connecting the 9 outlying breakfast, after school, teen parenting, aboriginal and anti-bully programs for kids, preteens and families in the sister neighbourhoods.

Please feel free to view photographs from the ‘Yespace’ project here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mythsandmirrors/sets/72157615785317782


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The Poverty Game

1998–Ongoing

From our beginnings, it was very obvious to Myths and Mirrors that poverty was a huge issue in our community. The provincial government of the day was implementing draconian social welfare changes amidst a groundswell of poor-bashing hysteria. The communities that we were working with were dealing with unimaginable stress and prejudice, and Myths and Mirrors recognized the need to address these issues with them.

The Poverty Game was created in 1980 by Branching Out, a self-help advocacy group located in Dawson Creek, B.C. It was designed to incorporate the real life experiences of six women on social assistance. Myths and Mirrors made modifications and changes to the Poverty Game to reflect present social assistance rates as well as current regional issues. Playing the game through a short workshop intends to provide an opportunity for people to participate in it’s purpose which is to assist both professionals and lay people in engendering into a deeper understanding of the effects of poverty and to change the participants’ general level of awareness and/or attitudes concerning the poor. Some of our workshops have resulted in the creation of theatre pieces that have traveled throughout Northeastern Ontario.

Please feel free to view the poverty game pamphlet here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mythsandmirrors/albums/72157617281708783

Other participants have integrated their learning into their own lifestyles or professions. Through role-playing the participants are able to experience the daily life of people on a low fixed income. They also have an opportunity to gauge their emotional reactions to the decisions they make and experience how poverty affects their fictional family’s life. The facilitators are community members who have had personal experiences with poverty and are working to improve the quality of lives of those around them.

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