For many, the last few days and weeks have been a dark and challenging time. For a variety of reasons, the start to 2017 has been difficult. These circumstances make clear how powerful and important creative initiatives like A Sense of Wonder are to our community.
A Sense of Wonder is an on-going collaborative art project commissioned by the Art Gallery of Guelph (AGG) and led by Guelph artist Dawn Matheson in collaboration with an inspiring group of d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing youth from across Southern Ontario. Throughout a series of workshops, Matheson has documented the children’s experiences and shared them with us through a series of multimedia, performance, and video installations. The artwork gives viewers a glimpse of the youths’ perspective of the world and the chance to learn from their incredible “sense of wonder,” openness, and creativity.
A Sense of Wonder was borne from AGG Curator of Contemporary Art Dawn Owen’s personal, creative, and professional passion for accessibility in the arts. Her commitment was matched by Matheson’s. Owen says of the artist:
“Dawn [Matheson] has an incredible way of connecting with people and creating platforms on which people feel very safe to trust her and the creative process. Through A Sense of Wonder, Dawn creates opportunities for the children to learn about themselves but also to be guides and offer a lens on the world. When children see other children doing amazing things, they inspire each other in incredible ways… It’s exciting for children to teach children, but it’s really powerful for children to teach adults. Rarely as adults do we take the time to walk in someone else’s shoes.”
At the opening of A Sense of Wonder on January 18th, many were excited to see so much positivity and inclusiveness shone on the d/Deaf experience.
It was a great pleasure and privilege to see A Sense of Wonder on its opening night and to experience not only the beautiful product of an incredible collaboration but also a moving display of community. Children, their families, and members of the d/Deaf and creative community filled the Art Gallery of Guelph. Together, they shared in an incredibly uplifting example of the power of art to share stories and experiences.