Holiday Greetings from Leah & MABELLEarts

Winter parade

Once again, the sun has made the long trip around the earth.  As the days grow short and the night envelops us, we have the chance to slow down and reflect on the year as it passes.  2016 has been marked by so much violence and fear.  In Aleppo, the bombs continue to fall.  Buildings burn and whole histories, systems of knowledge and ways of life are ground to dust.  Here in Kathmandu, the sun is shining on the third most polluted city in the world.  At the NexUs Café in Kathmandu (where I write this) artists are reimagining the role of art in their city and cultural context. I am so proud that MABELLEarts is playing a small role in this exploration.  In 2016, it was the power of creative collaboration – across belief systems, abilities, ages and (in this case) geography, that gives me hope and keeps me going.
It was this year at MABELLEarts in particular that has shown the power of creative collaboration.  Year one of our new residency in Broadacres Park brought together diverse artists with over 200 Syrian refugees to make art and through that process, reimagine the role of parks in Toronto.  Meanwhile, back in the Mabelle Park, artists and community members made our yearly Iftar celebrations, installed new public art, tended the wild garden and played in the hot (hot!) sun.  
As part of our Broadacres Park Residency, Mabelle youth who have been working and playing with MABELLEarts since they were young children are sharing what they’ve learned over the years with a new community in The West Mall.  This summer, MABELLE Youth Leaders acted as assistant facilitators and translators.  Our work in The West Mall would not have been possible without their commitment.  Watching their growth and leadership is one of the greatest experiences of my life.
This year we welcomed Daven Seebarran to MABELLEarts to provide leadership and support on number of organizational endeavors.  His knowledge and expertise are enriching our work in countless ways. I’m also pleased to report that Shifra Cooper has moved into a new position as Assistant Artistic Director at MABELLEarts.  Shifra’s ongoing commitment to MABELLEarts, the neighbourhood and the practice of community arts has made such a profound impact on our work and I’m so glad she’ll be taking more leadership.
There’s never been a better time to support MABELLEarts.  An incredible investment from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation means that each dollar you donate will be matched up to $5000.  Talk about an exciting creative collaboration!  I hope you’ll consider being a part of it.
As the sun makes its slow return, and the days get brighter, hold your loved ones close. From our hearts and from the heart of our community, it’s my pleasure to wish you a warm and glowing solstice.
With love from,