The Joy Initiative

The Joy Initiative!

Over the winter/spring Kick Start Arts ran a Digital Now initiative funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. This joyful initiative was a hybrid online/in-person project that saw diverse community members and artists from rural and urban settings engaging in the joy of art making. For this pilot year, our Toronto artists were pleased to collaborate with the rural artists connected to Prince Edward County’s Department of Illumination. 

Our Project had Three Stages:

Story Circles

Over the fall and winter, we ran free story-telling circles, and collaborated with a diverse group of lovely participants who’ve shared their stories of joy openly, and with much warmth. Each group participated in four sessions where stories were shared, honed and eventually recorded. Although stuck behind a computer screen, we managed to connect folks from across Ontario, and have compiled an Archive of Joy! We hope you explore them, and that they bring as much joy and laughter to you as they did to us as we created them.

Artistic Responses

Once the stories were compiled and recorded, 18 artists, spanning many disciplines, selected a story from the archive, and created an artistic response to that story. The artists include dancers, visual artists, musicians, installation artists, and more… They each consulted with the original community story-teller as part of their artmaking process. When complete, all of the art work and stories will be added to the archive, and will be showcased at our in person Festival of Joy, taking place in Picton, Prince Edward County, Ontario May 14th!

Hear about our experience in this joyful interview with Sarah Moran on 99.3 County FM:

The Festival

All of this culminated in an in-person event: Circles of Joy! ~ A Festival of Joyful Stories Brought to Life.

This interactive event saw community members gather at Macaulay Heritage Park in downtown Picton, Ontario to engage in a day of dance, music, installations, puppets, fun, treats and much, much more. 

Reach out to us if you are interested in dreaming up some joy with us in your community or school!

Yours in sharing joy, creating art, and fostering connection!
~ The Joy Festival Team

This project created with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts.