An Invitation to Play

By Bridget Matros

What was formally called “The Hive,” now “Community Art  Time,” nurtures space for community development and creative play time for adults.

As a community art center, Waterfall Arts pledges a commitment to inclusion. More than that, we preach the gospel that “art is for everyone” – that very message is emblazoned across our paint-splattered tent, seen at events around town.

But, is it really?

The message most take in is, “Art is for everyone… who is into that sort of thing.”

While our organization directs precious resources to remove obstacles to accessing their programs – from financial to physical – the greatest barrier is psychological.

About half of us were ushered away from the arts during childhood. Our innate tendencies to spontaneously express ourselves with art supplies, our voices and bodies were squashed. Maybe because of gender norms, our parents’ or teachers’ creative deficiencies, whatever. It’s an awful shortcoming of American culture, the way art was sidelined for a few generations – because now we find ourselves short of critical thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators. People are disconnected from themselves and each other. Our elders are losing their cognitive abilities earlier and earlier, alongside dwindling “joie de vivre”. 

All of these ills have an antidote in artmaking. 

But that word, “artmaking”, is a deterrent – so we’ll say creatively working with one’s hands. 

Tinkering.

Playing.

Experimenting for the fun of it. 

And Waterfall Arts is giving folks the most low-pressure, low-expectation, low-investment invitation to do so: a weekly drop-in program where any adult can ramble into our Community Studio and see what’s going on. Be tempted by the floor-to-ceiling art supplies and walls papered with kids’ brilliant art – or not. Just sip tea and chat.

It’s called Community Art Time. Here are the details:

  • Open to All Adults: Whether you’re an experienced artist or someone simply looking to unwind and dabble in basic art materials, “Community Art Time is open to all adults over 18 years of age.
  • Creative Freedom: Participants can follow their bliss – create collages from the center’s giant scrap bin, unwind and color, watercolor, or engage in the day’s suggested artistic activity.
  • Relaxed Atmosphere: The Community Studio at Waterfall Arts offers a calm and relaxing environment, making it perfect for those who may be easily overstimulated. Friendly and helpful staff members are on hand to provide guidance and encouragement.
  • Convenient Timing: The program takes place every Thursday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, allowing individuals to fit creativity into their weekly schedules.
  • Suggested Donation: A suggested donation of $5 per person is encouraged, but not required. There’s a donation jar by the door.  Waterfall Arts values inclusivity and welcomes everyone, regardless of their ability to contribute financially.

Who is it for… really?

Retirees who thought it was too late to start a creative hobby, or who haven’t picked up a paintbrush in ages.

Seniors with cognitive impairments, for whom artmaking is proven to boost mood, aid in restored verbal and processing abilities, alleviate helplessness by allowing complete freedom, and providing human connection through non-verbal self-expression.

Homeschooling parents who need some “me-time” or to experiment with materials and develop potential projects. 

Adults with disabilities and their aides, seeking fun new adventures in the community.  We have staff who are trained and experienced to adapt for achievement!

Workers in “left-brained” (analytical) jobs who need to tap into innovative thinking. Creative play-breaks don’t happen at Apple and Google headquarters for nothing! Fifteen to thirty minutes of “right-brained” activity increases afternoon productivity and unlocks creative problem solving.

Anyone scarred from being told they were no good at art when they were young – and took it to heart! Humans are wired to create and express themselves. We can help you reconnect with that inner child longing to play.

So there’s the open door. I really hope we see you coming through it soon.

Call Waterfall Arts with questions or suggestions at 207-338-2222.

What was formally called “The Hive,” now “Community Art Time,” nurtures space for community development and creative play time for adults.