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#449 Harmless graffiti and healing arts

If they hadn’t wrapped the trees with knitting and dangled crocheted doodads from the branches, I might have gone on blissfully unaware of a wonderful program happening right in my hometown of Kelowna, British Columbia.

The yarn bombing came from a workshop sponsored by the Cool Arts Society. That type of street art has been happening for years, completely outside my sphere of awareness. Turns out people all over the world are knitting up a storm, softening public spaces with colourful wraps. Type “yarnbombing” in the search window on Flickr, and you’ll see thousands of examples from around the globe.

So the graffiti knitting I came across today turns out to be part of a global movement that’s been going on for at least a decade. It made me laugh, and that always gives me hope.

The link with Cool Arts became clear when I did a search for “diversability”, the label hanging from one of the trees. Adding “Kelowna Art Gallery” and “knitting” led me to the yarn bombing workshop and that linked me to Cool Arts.

Turns out Cool Arts has been offering “Fine Arts opportunities for local adults with developmental disabilities” since 2003. From fall through spring professional artists and art educators offer hands-on, weekend workshops in printmaking, theatre makeup, rap, watercolor and more…including yarn bombing.

The searching led me back to that word hanging from the tree: “diversability”. I like that word. It gives me the kind of mind shift Shelley Decoste is hoping for as she campaigns to persuade us all to stop thinking in terms of “disability” and start thinking in terms of “diversability”.

I’m glad the route for my walk today led me past those quirky wrapped trees created by people in a Cool Arts workshop. The knitted graffiti made me laugh and then it taught me something. And that gives me hope.

A Twitter friend sent me this link to the yarn bombing at the Derby Royal Hospital. Fun!


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