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How a local artist uses art as a part of the healing process

Georgia Fullerton has been living artfully for as long as she can remember.Fullerton is a Jamaican-Canadian visual artist, expressive arts therapist, arts educator, and...
HomeNewsCommunityPeople of all ages connect through free art sessions at the RMG

People of all ages connect through free art sessions at the RMG

Story written by Simone Traviss and Ganga Rajesh

The LivingRoom is collaborating with the Robert McLaughlin Gallery to provide a free place for people to make art and join a local creative community.

The Neighbours Project ART HIVE is a drop-in art studio that happens every Friday at the RMG until Feb.16.

A white wall with the words "The Neighbours Project" on it. There are four bags of fabric on tables against the wall.
The Neighbours Project, ART HIVE, with the community art studio the LivingRoom. Photo credit: Simone Traviss & Ganga Rajesh

Held in Gallery A, the space turns into a vibrant hub of creativity where people can meet and share their artistic journey.

Mary Krohnert, the executive director of the LivingRoom, a community art studio, leads the sessions along with other RMG staff and volunteers.

Krohnert emphasizes that these events are open to everyone, no matter their experience level, to come and explore their artistic inclinations.

“We really work to encourage that radical hospitality. Everyone, when we say everyone is welcome here, we mean everyone,” she says.

ART HIVE aims to promote inclusivity, with the intention of making space for people in all walks of life.

“That’s my favourite place to be, when I see people coming together from all sorts of different communities or cultures or economics,” Krohnert says, “you know, places in life or different practices of work or profession, it doesn’t matter.”

She explains this diversity allows people to learn and grow with one another.

“Suddenly, if they’d had misconceptions about people or assumptions about people,” she says, “they begin to break down, and you begin to make friends with people that you would not have met in any other circumstance.”

Jamie Gill, a placement student with the LivingRoom, embraces the growing sense of community within the ART HIVE events.

“It’s really nice to see how busy it is, and to kind of see the sense of community develop throughout all of the hives,” she says.

The LivingRoom has extended its efforts beyond the gallery space, by integrating art into mental health care initiatives.

“We’ve been taking mental health care through art to Ontario Tech, and then we’ve also been working right now with the Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery,” Krohnert says.

Beads and paint pallets are placed on a table, with paint brushes scattered on the table cloth.
ART HIVE has many free art supplies available. Photo credit: Simone Traviss & Ganga Rajesh

The RMG recognized the LivingRoom was already doing pop-up art studio sessions with its Mobile Art Studio, which is a Chevy short bus that has been converted into an art hive.

They reached out to Krohnert about collaborating. “They invited us in to take over the space as an art hive in residence, and slowly but surely, we are transforming this room into an art hive,” she says.

She says having a physical location is important because there aren’t many free places available for creatives to meet and come together.

Julia Delbel, one of the volunteers at the LivingRoom, is enthusiastic for community-centric activities.

“I think I’ve been really trying to get into things that focus on community and coming together and celebrating people’s unique skills, point of view,” she says.

Krohnert says the ART HIVE is a place for people to try out new things while in the process of discovering themselves as an artist and a member of a community.

“That we create ourselves when we’re here and we create ourselves in relationship to other people,” she says. “So, we always know if this is okay here if I can be myself here, then maybe I can be myself in other spaces as well.”

For more information on the event visit