If goosebumps could talk

If goosebumps could talk

Above: Rachel Vander Vennen, Community Leader of L'Arche Saint John, gives opening remarks at Transformation, an art exhibition hosted by Creative Creative Connections at the Saint John Arts Centre on May 4, 2024. 

Do you remember the last time you felt moved by something, and goosebumps covered your whole body? 

If those goosebumps could talk, they’d say: pay attention – this is important. 

Earlier this month, I attended three consecutive events that had my hairs raised at attention, struck by the power of community coming together to do good and change lives.

They were United Way’s Songs of the City, Greater Saint John Community Foundation’s Community Impact Luncheon, and L’Arche’s own art exhibition, Transformation at the Saint John Arts Centre.

The latter, hosted on May 4, was a moving event and resounding success with over 120 people in attendance, including The Honourable Brenda L. Murphy, ONB, Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick and Her Honour, Linda Boyle, families, friends and former assistants from near and far.

As Patrick, an artist, beautifully serenaded the crowd on the piano, it was a mad dash to claim an art piece as sold before another admirer snapped it up. Of 94 art pieces on display, 74 went to new homes that day.

A friend of mine stopped by towards the end of the exhibition and noticed the slim pickings of art remaining. An artist, Jenn overheard this and exclaimed, “one of mine hasn’t sold yet!” And so it was a done deal.

Warren expresses his creative side through digital animation. His series, “Reptile Boy,” premiered at the exhibition in the adjacent room. When asked how he felt, he said: 

“People can see that anyone can do art, regardless of gender, ability, race, or orientation. Art is so diverse. There’s a lot of discrimination and people can learn to accept people who are different!”

It was a true celebration: of creativity, community, and the gifts of adults with intellectual disabilities.

Creative Connections, our artistic day program, has a profound impact on artists with intellectual disabilities’ lives. For some, it’s the first time they find a place of belonging in their life. If you have the means to give, please consider a donation to our Support Our Artists campaign to help us sustain this life-changing program: www.larchesaintjohn.org/support

With deep gratitude, 

Rachel Vander Vennen

P.S. To view the pictures from the exhibition, click here.

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