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Affordable Communities , Covia , Programs

Enduring Inspiration Exhibit Celebrates Art Created During Shelter in Place

Since the start of shelter-in-place in March 2020, Ruth’s Table has been sharing the importance of art to foster social connections and cultivate resiliency through its Enduring Inspiration initiative. Created in partnership with Creative Spark, a Covia community service, the project includes distributing art kits, hosting art classes, and supporting nonprofits and local care providers as they foster creativity in their communities. A new part of the initiative started this month with the Enduring Inspiration exhibition, which features art created through the program.

Enduring Inspiration “began as an idea to connect community members through shared experience at a time when we need to be physically distant,” notes Jessica McCracken, Creative Spark Director. “The title of the show captures the endurance we all must have during this challenging time.”

“It stands for everything Ruth’s Table believes in,” adds Rita Mukhsinova, Ruth’s Table Program Manager. “That art has the power to heal and bring communities together, that it helps challenge assumptions about age and disability, and that it should be accessible to all.”

Since March alone, Enduring Inspiration has distributed over 750 creative care kits and reached over 1,400 older people. The new exhibition highlights a selection of the incredible work created during the initiative’s first half and looks to what is coming next. Art included in the exhibition includes collages, embroidery, drawing, weaving, and more.

Ruth’s Table kicked off the Enduring Inspiration exhibit with a live virtual event on Thursday, February 4th. Participants and Covia team members joined to share the inspiration and stories behind their art and how the program has impacted them over the past year.   

“Creative projects helped me to feel like I belong to something and fulfilled my need to connect with others while expanding my creativity,” noted Margie, a Bethany Center resident whose iris fold artwork is featured in the exhibition. Margie’s essential worker’s collage that she created for the initiative was also featured on a LeadingAge postcard sent out to advertise their annual gathering.

Covia Market Day Associate Director Teresa Abney, shared how her program has been utilizing Enduring Inspiration to connect with participants. Though in-person markets cannot currently be held, Abney distributes Creative Spark worksheets to participants to keep them engaged. She noted that participants like the idea of being creative and share their completed worksheets with neighbors to compare their unique approaches to the same prompt.

The full Enduring Inspiration exhibit is available online here and a recording of the opening event will be available soon.

This is just the beginning for the Enduring Inspiration initiative. “I am most excited about the next round,” says McCracken. “Creative Spark and Ruth’s Table will be hosting more classes, creating more partnerships, and putting together more kits and worksheets to showcase in future installments.”