This past Sunday (March 26th) concluded the second of two free public Wildlife Paper Mâché workshops in Owen Sound at the Harmony Centre.
A total of 91 people of all ages participated over two days, in an intergenerational art workshop, to make paper maché masks and figures representing wildlife at risk from habitat loss and the climate crisis. The event is a prelude to the second annual Earth Day “Procession of the Species” parade, which uses art to bring wildlife into the heart of the city, dramatically calling attention to the animal and bird life that cannot advocate for itself.
The organizers of Earth Day Grey Bruce believe that community art can be a force of nature in bringing people together to create the world we want.
This year’s workshop had a special focus on the Seven Grandfather Teachings, as represented by Wolf, Bear, Raven, Beaver, Turtle, Bison and Eagle. The art workshops offered a space to reflect on humility, bravery, honesty, wisdom, truth, respect and love, and what these animals have to teach us at this particular moment of ecosystem crisis.
The Teachings were shared by Sharon Isaac, Cultural Facilitator with the M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre, as well as by Tammy Patrick, member of the M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre and of the Earth Day Planning Committee. Sharon, with her storytelling, puppetry and ukulele singing ran a station for making felt masks with the younger children choosing the animal and teaching of their choice.
The paper mâché portion of the workshop was led by local artists Ron Schweitzer, Hester Koopman and Michell Lawrence.
The workshops are part of a community effort to connect, energize and grow the climate action movement, with Earth Day marking the season of awakening.