The Art of Kindness

Karen MacDonald, Ladies Out Loud


The Art of Kindness with Heather Klimvhuk former Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Today, November 13th is World Kindness Day... so Happy Kindness Day to you.


It is eight years since we (Community Links, Airdrie Victim Assistance and Ladies Out Loud) brought this fabulous 'Kindness’ piece of art home to Airdrie.


You may recognize the painting as it was hanging in the Airdrie Public Library until early summer this year. We are so grateful to the library for taking good care of it and displaying it for all these years.


The painting...I call it our Kindness painting or Art of Kindness, as that is part of the story, is now hanging on the wall at the Ladies Out Loud Event Centre, a visual reminder of how our individual acts can have a huge impact when they are part of a “bigger picture”.


This is exciting for me in more ways than one.

I now have a physical space to hang the painting, a story to share and members ready to play their 'kindness" part!


What makes this painting so special to me, is not just bringing it home but a conversation I had with one of the delegates at the conference. This lady shared a little of her story with me and the reason for the square piece of art that she painted. She painted it in memory of her young daughter who had passed. The loss of anyone is sad but the loss of a child is heartbreaking. :( It's a constant reminder that we need to always be kind to others as we never know the battle or situation they are going through.


The story behind the Kindness painting.


The Airdrie Kindness initiative (formerly 30 Acts of Kindness) was established after four local ladies won a painting while attending the Alberta Culture ‘Vitalize’ Conference 2013. An artist designed the painting with delegates contributing by painting squares, creating a wonderful collage and unique art piece. Delegates were then asked to come up with 25 acts of kindness that were entered into a draw. The Airdrie group came up with a list of 30, hence the name 30 Acts of Kindness, and brought the painting home.


The 25 acts of kindness


I still remember the positive and enthusiastic energy of the evening. We were sitting in the hotel lounge trying to come up with 25 acts of kindness…isn’t that where the best ideas are created? We came up with 30…that glass of wine sure helped and lasted longer than I thought ;) After we handed our piece of paper in the next day I mentioned to the ladies that I had a strong feeling we were going to win that painting. Too bad I never get that feeling doing the lottery lol and yes, we did win. On our drive home later that day we were energized in our discussion and 30 Acts of Kindness (Airdrie Kindness) was born.


The vision was, and still is to spread a little love and create a kindness movement. We all know it takes a community to come together to make positive change. Well, here we are and there is no better time than right now to kick it into gear.

“Kindness is the social glue that connects individuals within a community…kindness is contagious” ~ RAK

I have to say even with all the challenges life has thrown my way, I never forget those people who have shown me kindness. Gee, I even remember the free coffees from strangers in line. I wish I knew who it was, not knowing doesn’t fit my nosey personality. lol Random acts of kindness are the best and something that always blows me away. Someone dropped off lovely stones in our planter at the centre. I knew it had to be someone that knows me…that drove me nuts for weeks before finding out who it was. Yes, I was one of those kids who opened all presents before Christmas and rewrapped them. We also have a macrame wall hanging that was donated by Debbie Martin to raffle off with money going into our tea fund… It’s not always about receiving though…the feeling one gets when we give, is reward enough and when we give from the heart without any need of recognition…that in my mind is true kindness.

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members” ~ Coretta Scott King

That Vitalize Conference was my favourite of all time and created such fond memories for me as I’m sure it did for the other ladies. Sadly it is no longer...I think it ran another couple of years before it was cancelled. Whatever the reason, I know it is very much missed within the non-profit sector. The conference offered training and development for non-profit organizations and volunteers. We learned from great teachers and speakers but we got so much more than those breakout sessions and workshops. We made connections; and we learned from each other.


The Kindness painting is also a constant reminder of how we can all be involved in making our community better. We are capable of sharing kindness simply by holding the door open for someone, shoveling a neighbour’s walk, dropping off treats to someone in need – and it goes without saying but generally being kind through our words and actions...the possibilities are endless and feeling is priceless!


Kindness Bench created by artist Shawnee Hoffman, Artsy Fartsy Studio

The Kindness Bench


I have also reclaimed the Kindness Bench for the centre. Don’t think of it as taking but more about sharing. The Kindness bench had a good space to lay its roots for the past 3 years at Community Links and I'm thankful to them for taking good care of it.


The story behind this piece of art is very personal to me.


Thistles, love or hate…the thistle is the flower of Scotland, so of course I love it. The artist for this piece was Shawnee Hoffman, Artsy Fartsy Studio. I asked Shawnee if she would create an Airdrie Kindness bench for the Airdrie Bench Project. She listened to my many random ideas and stories and came up with this beautiful creation. I wanted it to reflect Airdrie Kindness but have a Scottish flare. What makes this art piece so special is the words Rest and be Thankful, a landmark close to my mums birth town. This was also created in memory of my mum and a dear Scottish friend here in Airdrie who has since passed who was like a mum to me. I couldn’t be happier to have this under my roof.


 

Art in the Centre


We are loving the art work hanging on our walls. The space is alive and vibrant with all the beautiful art created by local female artists...and it‘s also for sale.

Art in the Centre


Are you an artist and would like to have your art work displayed at the centre? If so, please email Nicole Kenny at arts@ladiesoutloud.ca for more information. Nicole is an amazing person and artist who I’ve known for a few years now. She is helping us by being the main contact for artists and hanging all the art on our walls. You can also find some of her fabulous art in the centre.

Are you an artist or crafter, interested in participating in a Pop Up Christmas Market?

Airdrie’s hosting a Midnight Madness December 4th from 6-10pm and I’m opening my doors. Email karen@ladiesoutloud.ca


If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter sign up via our home page www.ladiesoutloud.ca or would like to be involved in any way with the Airdrie Kindness movement please email me at karen@ladiesoutloud.ca

“The art of being kind is all the world needs” ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox




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