The Circling Project

The Circling Project launched in February 2019 with a circle facilitated by Indigenous 2-Spirit storyteller and advocate, Teddy Syrette. This circle was followed by a series of linocut workshops with folks of all ages and backgrounds, creating space to connect over issues impacting our communities, both locally and beyond.

This preliminary work lead to the formation of several ‘circles’ (or micro projects), exploring often difficult themes – from the overdose crisis, to homelessness, to MMIWG – with the hope that by coming together in creative ways, we can collectively move closer to the world we want.

The Circling Project was made possible thanks to funding from the Catherine Donnelly Foundation and will continue into 2020. Read more about our ‘circles’ (or micro projects) below.

The Circling Project: Community Memorial Project
In response to the devastating effect the overdose crisis has had on our community, we partnered with Réseau ACCESS Network to create a community memorial art project. Inspired by our previous linocut work, the group decided to create individual memorial flags, each representing someone that has died due to overdose since – a number estimated to be around 130, since 2016. A series of linocut workshops were offered to folks personally impacted by the overdose crisis through SWANS (Sex Workers Advisory Network Sudbury) and SACY’s harm reduction program; and the project was showcased at Five Cent City’s second annual community event and on Overdose Awareness Day at Réseau ACCESS Network. Workshops are planned to continue into 2020 with groups and organizations motivated to act in response to the overdose crisis due to a toxic drug supply.

The Circling Project: Writing + Storytelling Workshops
We partnered with Looking Ahead to Build the Spirit of Our Women: Learning to Live Free from Violence and artist Sarah Gartshore to deliver a series of writing and storytelling workshops for Indigenous women and 2-Spirit folks that have been impacted by violence. Through workshops with N’Swakamok Native Frienship Centre, Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre, and the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Community Centre, the goal of the project was to create space for survivors of violence to share stories of healing and resiliency that could be compiled and shared in a ‘Survivor’s Handbook’ to inspire others and inform service providers.

The Circling Project: Sudbury Street Arts
To support folks navigating homelessness and extreme poverty, we collaborated with community artist and advocate, Abbey Jackson, to launch Sudbury Street Arts in late November of 2019. Through this free, weekly arts drop-in, homeless and street-involved folks can enjoy a meal, access wifi, and explore their creativity in a safe and welcoming space. This work is planned to continue into 2020 with the goal of establishing it into stable, long-term programming.

UPDATE (November 2020) – While Myths and Mirrors will continue to support folks experiencing poverty and homelessness in the downtown area through our outreach and programming, Sudbury Street Arts is no longer a Myths and Mirrors project, now operating as it’s own initiative. We thank Abbey for her vision, work, and contributions to this project. To learn more about Sudbury Street Arts, visit @sudburystreetarts on Instagram.

The Circling Project: Youth Arts Workshops
Starting in October 2019, we partnered with Sudbury Action Centre for Youth (SACY) to deliver a series of arts workshops to folks aged 16-24 through their youth drop-in program. Led by artist Stephanie Fournier, the aim of the workshops were to demystify art for young people by offering accessible, low-barrier arts activities that encouraged self-expression and celebration of their identities, stories, and experiences. Activities included: collage, button and sticker-making, stencilling, acrylic painting, and more. For 2020, we hope to grow these workshops into stable, long-term programming through the development of a youth arts collective.

Summer Programming

YOUTH: Art, Music + Poetry
Over the summer, summer staff lead a series of art and poetry circles for young artists in the community to share their work. To facilitate collaboration and exchange within the group, participants were encouraged to create new works inspired by the art, music, and poetry of their peers. These circles were well-attended with 12-20 people attending each session.

The project was showcased at our end-of-summer celebration at Memorial Park, featuring performances by our summer staff, acoustic alternative rock band Kick the Clouds, the cast of Sudbury Theatre Centre’s production A Family Story, and other young artists in the community. More than 50 people attended the event, including many community members from the downtown core. See CTV Northern Ontario’s coverage of the event here.

Big thanks to our 2019 summer staff and all who performed at our end-of-summer celebration – Blaine Thornton, Quinn Zwarich, Abbey Jackson, Madison Kotyluk, Kick the Clouds, Emily Maville, Conner Lafortune, and the cast of A Family Story.

Art in the Park
As part of our summer programming, we offered ‘pop-up’ art-making activities through two local parks – Victory Park in the Donovan and Memorial Park in the heart of downtown.

VICTORY PARK – In partnership with the Aboriginal EarlyON hub at St. David School, we offered outdoor arts programming to children and families in the Donovan. Over 6 weeks, participants took part if activities that included sidewalk chalk painting, a nature-themed scavenger hunt, clay, and other nature-themed crafts. Participation fluctuated from week to week, with 2-3 participants one week to 10-12 the next.

MEMORIAL PARK Community artist and advocate, Abbey Jackson, led two art-making activities in Memorial Park for homeless and street-involved folks. The first activity invited participants to contribute to a collaborative banner, sharing their experiences with poverty and homelessness, as well as their wishes for the future. For the second activity, Abbey led a lantern-making workshop using recycled and found materials; these lanterns were showcased at our end-of-summer celebration at Memorial Park and then gifted back to community members. About 8-10 people participated in each activity.

Workshops, Festivals + Events

Northern Lights Festival Boréal
JULY 6 + 7 – Once again, we took part in the Northern Lights Festival Boréal’s ‘Arts Village.’ This year, we showcased linocut prints done by participants from The Circling Project, and invited visitors to explore printmaking themselves by making prints with pre-cut linocut blocks. We had many visitors to our booth and received excellent feedback, with one commenting “you were definitely the highlight of my son’s weekend!”

Fierté Sudbury Pride
JULY 11 + 13 – This year, we celebrated Fierté Sudbury Pride with activities at the Greater Sudbury Public Library and the Sudbury Farmer’s Market. On July 11, our co-op student, Emily Maville, led a sign-making activity at the library in partnership with the Fierté Sudbury Pride committee. Almost 20 people attended this event. Then, on July 13, we partnered with the Sudbury Farmer’s Market to offer Pride-themed activities to coincide with Pride Day in the Park. Activities included: face painting, DIY pride flags, and rain- bow sidewalk chalk painting.

Downtown Sudbury Art Crawl
AUGUST 18 – We took part in the summer edition of the Downtown Sudbury Art Crawl, offered in partnership with Up Here, Downtown Sudbury, and the Sudbury Art Council. Throughout the day, we had around 10 groups tour our Durham St. studio, where we showcased linocut prints done by participants from The Circling Project and other artwork created over the summer.

Wood Painting with Indigenous Youth
JANUARY + FEBRUARY – In partnership with Looking Ahead to Build the Spirit of Our Women: Learning to Live Free from Violence, we delivered a series of wood-painting workshops to children and youth from Wahnapitae First Nation and the Akwe:go program at N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre. Around 20 young people participated in the workshops and their finished artwork was displayed at the second annual Honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Conference, February 6-7 in Sudbury.

Linocut Workshops with Indigenous Youth
MAY 14 + JUNE 1 – This spring, we were invited to facilitate two separate print-making workshops with Indigenous youth. On May 14, we visited Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre’s youth program to deliver a 2-hour linocut workshop to 5 participants, aged 9-12. On June 1, we traveled to Serpent River First Nation with Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services for a linocut workshop with 7 youth, aged 17-20. In both workshops, youth learned how to develop one-colour designs, transfer their designs from paper to linocut block, proper cutting techniques, and the process for inking and printing their designs.