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Our Roots

We are artists, educators, and mental health advocates.

Art Not Shame is spearheaded by Michelle Peek and supported by a strong team of carefully chosen advisors in the fields of mental health, art-based community making, and education in formal secondary, post-secondary, and community-based contexts. Art Not Shame brings together our shared experiences, expertise, and commitments in these fields, creating something distinct that draws from, and engages with, a diverse range of people, communities, and sectors. Art Not Shame workshops can be tailored to work well in formal educational contexts as well as service-based programming. We believe in the possibilities that emerge when people come together to share their experiences and knowledge through art-making.

Art-based community making

We like this concept for the way it takes 'community-based art making' and flips it, so that the focus is on the ways in which creative collaboration can help us to create connections and relationships, and to build a shared future. The term originates with activist scholar George Lipsitz, and at its best describes a situation in which creative activities are used to explore and to model the futures toward which we are striving; to make visible and tangible, even temporarily, the conditions, dynamics, and commitments that would make 'community' feel like home.

Education

The founding members of Art Not Shame are all experienced educators - in formal settings like universities, creative learning environments like community workshops, and in group-based arts-education, providing a broad knowledge base in curriculum and program design, in workshop facilitation and classroom teaching, in community-based education.

Mental-health advocacy

To Art Not Shame, Michelle brings her 17 years of advocacy work for mental health from the James Peek Memorial Golf Classic, a golf tournament run by the Peek family and dear friends, and held in memory of her brother James who took his life in November of 1999.

To learn more about the James Peek Memorial Golf Classic, check out the TSN produced documentary "Talk To Me: The Story of James Patrick Peek:"

... art-based community making [is] a form of democratic interaction that enacts the just social relations that social movements often only envision.
— George Lipsitz