Building Hope unveils art installation in Silverthorne to promote community connectedness
In our increasingly interconnected society, the trope of the artist as a loner persists. Artists tend to create and explore within their own minds, and it can be an isolated existence. In a resort area like Summit County, it also might be hard to find a community of like-minded creative people to collaborate and build relationships with.
In an effort to spur more community connectedness while furthering its mission of building a more coordinated mental health care system in Summit County, local nonprofit Building Hope partnered with the town of Silverthorne to unveil three collaborative art pieces at the Silverthorne Recreation Center on Tuesday.
The installation is part of Building Hope’s event programming for May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. Building Hope’s spring messaging campaign has aimed to encourage discussion on mental health and reduce stigma of the subject, along with trying to make Summit residents realize that they are not alone in their inner struggles.
Jennifer McAtamney, Building Hope’s newly hired executive director, said the installation was part of the organization’s mission of creating safe places for people to come together and feel much less alone.
“We hear from people all the time how isolating it can be in Summit County, especially for our new residents,” McAtamney said. “So we have these wonderful events — art, yoga, sound healing, panel discussions — and at each and every event you’ll have opportunities to connect with the people in there, learn something new and get tips about mental health.”
Building Hope program manager Betsy Casey said that art therapy has been found to be an effective therapeutic tool, but collaborating on art also brings about the social element that is often missing with individual art pursuits.
“We’ve taken what can often be an individual thing and made it a community event, where people can come together to create community pieces,” Casey said. “It helps create a sense of community through art. It’s a mechanism and a way to reach our emotions when we can’t necessarily express them through words.”
Kathye Conti, an expressive arts facilitator who oversaw the creation of the works, said the creative process is an important step in unlocking parts of our psyche that people rarely, if ever, allow to be expressed.
“When we create art as a group, we each show up as authentic and unique individuals who share ideas with each other,” Conti said. “We learn to create something unique together, something that could not have been created purely by ourselves. This is about the process of discovery, although you can see we do end up with a product.”
The three collaborative pieces are now displayed in a row above the lobby to the Silverthorne Rec Center as a permanent art display.
The first piece, a mixed-media mural titled “We are People, Unique, Open Minded, Special, Colorful, Creative Artists” was created by a group of 12- to 14-year-olds and features several different pieces put together to form a mural of a starscape.
The second piece, a single mixed-media collaborative painting created by a group of adults is titled “Tree of Gratitude.” The piece celebrates life, nature and the importance of connection with others. It features a tree set against a kaleidoscopic backdrop of mountains and sky.
The final piece, made by an adult group, is a mixed-media mural titled “Hope Givers,” that was part of a film documentary of the same name introducing Building Hope’s community connectedness programs. The filmmaker, Tamlin Hall, also helped paint the work.
Building Hope has free events throughout the month. Art workshops take place on the last Tuesday of every month, from 6–8:30 p.m., at a different location each month.
This month’s event, titled “Art Series: Words that Inspire — Make Your Own Journal,” will bring people together to talk about the importance of journaling as well as guide participants in constructing and designing their own journals. The event will take place on May 28 at the Breckenridge Library at 103 S. Harris St.
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