Art Hives buzzing in Halifax!


Art Hives Conversation/Workshop - April 22nd 2015

On Wednesday, April 22nd 2015, an intersector Art Hives gathering was held at the Food ARC space at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The intention of the session was to connect diverse interested demographics around the concept of Art Hives, give the context of University research into Art Hives, get an overview of what Art Hives are currently active in Nova Scotia, celebrate the successes that are already happening through Art Hives activities, and to explore how to build and then sustain a thriving set of Art Hive communitiesacross Canada and inform the agenda for a fall Art Hives Symposium in Halifax. In attendance were over 52 community members, university professors and staff, governmentemployees, artists, youth artists, representatives of private funding agencies, researchers and many more. The group came together out of an interest in the Art Hives concept as a way of holding the space for artistic activities that strengthen communities and increase wellbeing.



Ryan Veltmeyer,  Co‐founder/ED of Youth Art Connection

Dr. Janis Timm-Bottos, Assistant Professor, Concordia University

Dr.Ardra Cole Associate Vice‐President, Academic and Research


Ann Denny  Co‐founder/ED of Youth Art Connection

Paul Shakotko, United Way

Dale Sheppard, Curator of Education & Public Programs at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Chavasse Bain,  African NS Affairs

Colin Campbell, African NS Affairs

Lori Burke, Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design

Amina Abawajy  Avalon,Wonder’neath Art Studios

Ashton Rodenheiser,  Bridgewater Art Happening

Tony Lanz,  Bridgewater Art Happening

Emma Williams,  Bridgewater Art Happening

Karen Langlois

Guy Doucette, Back Burner Productions

Ann Power, Department of Education

Stacy O'Rourke, NS Lotteries &Casino Corporation / 21 Inc

Melinda Spooner

Tamar Dina, Music Liberatory

Women Black Folk Artists Collective (Art Hive)

Tammy Milbury, MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning

LaMeia Reddick, Community Engagement Consultant

Kristen Lewis, The Mersey Art Society

Susie Brigham, MSVU, Faculty of Education

Sylvia Calatayud

Elizabeth Church, MSVU

Shawn Cleary, MSVU Business

Stephanie Mason, NSCAD

Marnina Gonick, MSVU

Allan Neilsen, MSVU

Eva Knoll, MSVU

Ingrid Jenkner, MSVU

Sabine Fels, Arts Express (Art Hive)

Terri Whetstone, 4Cs Foundation

Caitlin Doucette 

Laura Swine, Heartwood ED

Genevieve Allen Hearn

Rachel Derrah,  Graphic facilitator, Co*Lab

Savvy Simon, Savvy Unlimited, #speakmikmaq

Felicia Dedam

Willow Davidson, artist Willow Starr

Charlotte Marble, artist

Marietta Wildt, 100in1day Festival

Erica Dalhousie, Arts for Change

Stephanie Mason, NSCAD School of Extended Studies

Caitlin McGuire,  artist

Cate Heimpel, artist

Danielle Goodfellow, SMU, Office of Innovation and Community Engagement

Elizabeth Church, MSVU Vice‐President (Academic)

Shawn Cleary, MSVU Business and Tourism

Marnina Gonick, MSVU, Women’s Studies

Allan Neilson, MSVU, Education

Susie Brigham, MSVU, Education

Eva Knoll, MSVU, Education

Heather Wilkinson, Wonder’neath (Art Hive)

Melissa Marr, Wonder’neath (Art Hive)

Megan + Margaret Pegg, TeamPossibles, Team City Art Hive

Xuan Thuy Nguyen, MSVU, Education

Nora Perry, MSVU, Centre for Women in Business

Ingrid Jenkner, MSVU Art Gallery

Paula Barry MSVU, International Education Centre

Meagan Soley, MSVU, Spark Zone

Krista Montelpare, MSVU, Research Office

Hannah Minzloff, photo‐based artist

Susan Walsh, MSVU, Education

Megan Pegg, Team City Art Hive

Patty Williams, Food ARC

Sal Badali, Dean, Faculty of Education

Kat MacLennan, HRM

Michelle Forrest, MSVU

Isabella Redgate, MSVU student

Kim Kitmappe, MSVU

Peter Mombourquette

Pam Corell, SMU Art Gallery

Jyelle Vogel

Susan Wolf, MSVU Art Galelry

Cat MacKeigan, Dalhousie PhD



Introductory remarks: 

Ardra Cole, Associate Vice-President Academic and Research spoke the role of research and connections between universities like Mount Saint Vincent and communities.

Janis Timm-Bottos, Art Hives Founder spoke via Skype - about the Art Hives concept, history and research connected to it.

Ryan Veltmeyer, Co-founder of Youth Art Connection spoke about Art Hives in the context of Nova Scotia, and how social and economic outcomes can be supported and measured, in the

context of research on social impact and economic development goals laid out in the Ray Ivany report.


Hosted conversation with Art Hives

8 Art Hives from Nova Scotia were present and introduced themselves to attendees. These art hives then hosted conversations about their work with attendees.

World Cafe - Facilitated Conversations

Following introductory conversations with Art Hives, Ryan Veltmeyer lead attendees in a World Cafe format discussion exploring 3 key points:

1. What is currently happening with Art Hives in Nova Scotia and what are they achieving? What are the social and economic outcomes?

2. What challenges are faced by Art Hives in reaching their social and economic outcomes?

3. Considering the successes and challenges of Art Hives as models for positive community change, and considering the upcoming Art Hives Symposium in the fall of

2015 in Halifax, what actions and ideas should be focused on?


Graphic facilitator Rachel Derrah captured ideas, conversations and suggestions for action through a beautiful graphic facilitation. Below is an image of this, as well as detailed notes of the

graphic facilitation collected by Co-founder of Youth Art Connection, Ann Denny.


ART HIVES - the story so far

UNIVERSITY + COMMUNITY - let’s create space to explore this connection

Art into research

Social change

Community connection






Artists need to make a living

Encourage challenging conversation

Its already happening here

Our social problems ARE our economic problems

Artists to contribute to gentrification (pave the way for? complex relationship)

Art Hive as a welcome mat to community

Be on the edge

Constantly bringing in people who are not like ourselves

New + Radical - change underlying model

-Governments need to get out of the way

Citizens need to get out of their own way

-Community arts projects should develop free of government initiatives

-Structures Prevent Creativity <--change the infrastructure!

-Qualitative not quartitative analysis (a lot about quality of life)

-Adaptable to constant change


-Radical new ideas about city outside of bit success

-breaking down traditional roles

-ways to share stories

-gives communities a way to share their voice and stories

Support Delivery

-arts are institutionalized in Canada, where does accountability come from?

-make plans, put in work, leaders who start-up

-economic viability… importance of opening spaces, sharing creative resources + taking care of

one another

-learning & training & support

-physical delivery of hive service or good varies.. bicycles

-additional suuport -expertise -direct support -funding

Arts Benefit the Economy -let’s talk money

-tourism and hospitality, $ being infused into the local economy

-local business fundraisers, co-promotion linked economy growth

-legitizing art as business

-not necessarily traditional funding

-grants, ticket sales etc.. flexible and adaptible

-cannot depend solely on grants for financial support

-consumerism + capitalism, more local more green

-sustained funding

-all costs associated to arts events are multi-faceted enough to contribute to wide economy

New Ways to Exchange - Sustained Funding

-Government support, is it their responsibility?

-Funding: individual | business | government

-alternate structures to traditional monetary for service exchange

-arts funding limited corporate culture

-support by Funding Organization (this concept isn’t known by funding)

-measuring economic benefit, stories, e.g. mental health

-cannot separate money from the conversation, but it should be separate

Expression & Leadership

-artists as leaders in the community

-creating new leaders from their experience as participants

-youth gain confidence + economic savvy e.g. Hope Blooms

-art as potential for self-expression

-sense of ownership

-support and inspiration for the people involved

-pride in the city

-transforms people’s identities

-making soul connections with others, self expression of the arts

Ease of Access

-addresses isolation cultural/regional/artist

-perception of access intimidation

-spaces that have freedom + security

-entire community supports, easy access

-accessibility for all (wheelchairs etc..)

-using accessible language for all community (business, families etc..)

-community accessibility but the worry that it will become institutionalized -loss of access

Connecting Community - Get Whole Community Involved, Diverse Gathering

-bringing diverse groups together

-opportunity for people to come together across age, class, race, abilities

-people feel valued and contribute to their community

-makes a community appealing

-art can link many/multiple disciplines - scencies, health, etc.. facilitate interactions

-feeling WELCOME

-defining “community” multiple community bridging and connect

-get WHOLE community involved

-having everyone in one room, collective, links between community, students, artists etc..

-inter-generational participation

-engage others that are not here

-be a resource for neighbourhood festivals and community groups

-avoiding stagnation (getting fresh voices)

-do the bee dance, share the art hive model wider while focusing on sharing core value of

strengthening community

Value of art

-cultural attitudes need to change

-connecting with business community

-health and wellbeing needs to be supported

-vital to health of the community (getting people to understand this, Gov’t etc..)

-challenge: the understanding of the inherent value of the arts

-cannot quantify qualitative things


-how do we build parnerships?

-how do we build and maintain connections?

-potential equal partnership with art hives and university community

-keep and build partners

-community partnerships

Other Examples

“Spark Zone” a sandbox @ The Mount

-MSVU conference fund? $

-TILLT Europe multi $ budget to put artists in institutions

-critical lasting resource

-grass roots initiatives from 60s and 70s still around today

-aligning social value to policy outcomes

-work towards better communication and connections amongst practitioners

-shift from discussion to action

-how the hive works, where it has worked, get it started

-collect data through universities, themes + topics discussed

-how to we find out what skills are out there in this room, all hives all potential hives

-skills inventory can lead to connections, inventory, identify gaps

-create and sustain awareness in community

-actually taking action, but how? pop up art hives to ease the public into the idea

-pop up with information, social media, word of mouth, connecting to art hives

-shake things up, advocacy for art hives? raise awareness

-interest, communitment, excitement, motivation, skills, knowledge, take advantage!

-explicit commitment to art hives in relation to social goals

-let’s not get stuck in discussion and dreams

-a champion to take charge, get that one person to back the project and make a list


In addition to the notes resulting from the graphic facilitation, notes at each table were

kept by conversation hosts. Here are these notes as well:



-Black folk artists

Goal: Dramatically increase the number of female instrumentalists

Founder: Tamar (background in anti-violence work, now uses arts as a tool for women’s equality and freedom)

Women are repressed in music. You don’t hear about women’s lives, losing children, being raped, losing husbands, having children, taking care of others etc..

-you are not hearing their music/perspective in revolutions

-we need more of the rhythms and lyrics of women

-percussion and voices, can use our bodies for percussion, don’t even need drums! (tho we like them, and we have them)

-babies hear heartbeat in the womb, mothers sing babies to sleep

New Word: a “Hummler”, a woman who elevates the music that is happening just by being around


-Uniacke Square


-Mulgrave Park

-relationship with North Branch Library, for the intro discussion groups where we do poetry,

drawing and establish a high level of agreement

The Agreements (designed to protect the person with the least power in the room):



-Keep covenants

-Address breaches


1-All Female Steel -steel pan drums

2-Girls Dance Music Video

3-WOMB BOOM (1x a month, with childcare)

4-Women’s Discussion Group (6-8 week series in fall)

goal: that all programs have child care

will soon start: women vocala groups, to develop rhythm and timing

Women who have always wanted to play are coming in

Main Funders so far:

Canada Council for the Arts

-has research on their site on the benefits of art hives (tip from Janice)

Are 3 women interested?

Start a program for it!

Informal classroom hangout feel

-Vanesse Smith a producer from Toronto

-Joseph, a steel drum instructor

-Lisa Doblin, drummer

-Marlene Companion

Approach: “Imagine we are starting music anew”

Barriers faced:

-how oppressed women are

-it is getting worse

-hardly any infrastructure in NS for women’s movement and organizations (eg supporting

women to attend legal aid and doctors etc..)

-not as much advocacy infrastructure in NS as in BC for example where there are many vocal transition houses for women and unions and associations

Wants to get charitable registration

-Ann suggested a connect with McInnes Cooper law firm for pro bono assistance


-interactive informal sessions

-games to get women to play

-play along to really loud music, so you are not self-conscious/can’t hear yourself


Music is not an extra, music is something you do to live

Artists as the moral compass of society


Marlene of All Nations Drum group goal: An International Women’s Drum Festival

Also at the table: Emma a student from Bridgewater who volunteers at the Art Happenning art hive, to do her hours for an “Options and Opportunities” course in highschool for gr 11 and gr

12, 300 hours, 100 each in three spaces. Emma does posters and signs at schools to help publicize the art hive and hangs out there during its opening hours



At the table:

Susan Walsh - prof at the Mount - creative approach to research (visual elements in papers etc.)

Guy Doucette - arts rural/city, from ON, NS based now, arts/theatre background

Amina -works at Avalon Sexual Assault Centre -doing an arts partnership with Wonder’neath

1 How are existing Art Hives contributing to development in Nova Scotia?

-creating safe spaces

-development of artists including youth artists

-collective and personal growth through the relationships and skills development

-mentorships (formal and informal) are happening, once a young person goes through art hives, they mentor others

Success Stories

e.g. Jessie Jollymore @ Hope Blooms

-increased economic literacy in teenage youth who are doing arts based activities

-Friends of the Khyber

-Supportive place to discuss living wage for artists

-Rural NS, Art Hives are providing the 3rd spaces for community home-like feeling, while all the other buildings for that purpose are closing (churches, fire halls and community centres are all

closing in rural NS, so Art Hives are ever more needed than before)

2 Challenges and Barriers for sustaining and growing Art Hives?

-stagnation is a potential barrier

-keeping the space fresh, new faces, diversity

-University is currently quite separated from community, forging stronger linkages in order to share resources and skills

-need more community organization involvement (where is NSCAD? where is Extended Studies?)

$ + time

Artists being able to make a living

-costs money to facilitate the Art Hive space and maintain it

-accessibility.. sign language, touch, wheel chairs

-the spaces we do get, sometimes have negative connotations (dangerous part of town etc..)

-finding a stable space that is affordable

-ideally HRM would manage these spaces

-finding that mix of freedom but security in the spaces and funding offered

3 Opportunities? Next Steps?

-e.g. symposium in the fall?

-Office of Innovation and Community Engagement @ St Mary’s

-Centre for Women in Business (Nora)

-creative ways of doing the business plan (e.g. use improv theatre to ‘talk out’ the various boxes of the plan.. have people embody the different categories and talk through the production line)

-making the resources more visible in the community (eg a centralized place, press, social media)

-create a symposium that integrates performances into the conference day so its really high energy and fresh (e.g. political drumming group, spoken word at the breaks and beginnings of

sessions, music, interactive presentations, making art together that has a political message, masks, computer stations for signing up on the spot to the Art Hives website, community

building speed dating stations, etc…)

-SPARK ZONE on campus, a provincial community sandbox at The Mount (I think?) with the goal of creating innovative spaces

-mainly University students, but community is welcome as well

-will coordinate campus activities

Ginger Grant Prof @ Sheraton - storytelling

Compile a list of accessible spaces

Remember that the core is: “STRENGTHENING COMMUNITY”


“Art Hives the new buzzword, this is your beeswax!”

“Art Hives the community salve for Austerity”

“Universities, Non-profits and Government collaborate to build ‘Art Hives’”

“Creating Community Buzz One Art Hive at a Time”

“Art Hives Support Artistic Practice”

“Honey not $$”



1 How are existing Art Hives contributing to development in Nova Scotia?

-opportunities for people to come together from many ages and backgrounds

-non-prescriptive of outcomes / comfortable

-it is change being made -leadership opportunities for different communities

-inter-generational connections

-social, esp for people that are isolated

-positions artist as leader in a community

-helps fight the misconception of ‘artist as genius working on own - individual’ -luxury

-recycling (materials and objects and knowledge)


2 Challenges and Barriers for sustaining and growing Art Hives?

-no money, especially for sustained funding for things like training/support/innovation on

individual and group level/build on relationships/how can we connection with universities when

they go more slowly and how can their work be more inclusive to community arts)

-how do we build partnerships

-energy that goes into tracking funding down

-commitment of people

-what factors allow people to participate?

-how do they find each other?

-people who are interested in community arts

-how do we collectively organize to reach a shared goal

-how do people decide how to work together and what outcomes you want to achieve

3 How can we take action now?

-share the Art Hives concept more widely

-getting back to talking about art hives as places where communities, individuals connect and build/strengthen communities through art *this is the core value

-way to express ourselves as a community through art

-neighbourhood festivals -how can art hives contribute? -100in1 Day

-share what we are doing with people outside of community arts as well

-Art Hives connecting with community groups

-Artbridges, Art Hive Network, how do we stay in touch? (not current network of art hives just in NS)






*not in community

*not in schools

*not at provincial level - - - - > Community Spaces -physical spaces -popup events -where NS

folks can be creative


raise caliber of art making + appreciation

Creative Common


Explicit Commitment to Art Hives -do we need a collective voice?

NS Collective of Hives -stay united in conversation -what does it mean to be inclusive?

ART + LEADERSHIP to be relevant

Who gets to be creative?

-extend connection

-sharable skills within the hive

-sharing skills and learning from each other

involving greater community funders



-language is key for connecting stakeholders, including funders (i.e. how we describe Art Hives

make vary depending on who we are talking to?)

Possibilities of SOCIAL ENTERPRISE

Creative Common

Health and Wellness Funding


Page 5

Buzz Phrases:

“Communities, Generations, Connecting through Art”

“Artistic Abilities, Strengthening All Sectors”

“Art Hives A Buzz with Diversity”


Art Hive Symposium Happening Soon

Pollinating Positive Change



Nova Scotia Art Community Creates Buzz Around Art Hives

NS Government Swarm to Participate + Fund


From A to Bee: Art Hives Start to Finish





Building Community through Food & Art sharing

Having a Hub that reaches out into the community via outreach events -parades -festivals -park visits

Bringing the Hive out to show/share what happens inside to invite and break the psychology boundary

Breaking down the lack of time/space to collaborate after a show/performance

Art is fundamental and magical way to connect


Education through Art




NS local ARTS Council - Funding?

(Youth in schools research) -Feel valued contribute to the community

Newcomers -photography -art therapy


Bee Dances

Govt, business & communities, Thousands across NS, join the Art Hives bee dance to use the

creativity to build communities

Thousands from Government, business & community come together to collaborate to build


People are welcoming

MSVU - university - community partnerships

research - food security - youth - newcomers - the role of the arts

- rural communities (non-Halifax)


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