Sudbury

Research aims to help artists find 'like-minded' peers, community support

The Sudbury Arts Council wants to take a snapshot of its creative community, but that means more than revenue and venues. Part of their research project is looking at how local artists are helping others' mental health.

Sudbury Arts Council includes 'emotional support' in community survey

Kylie Klym says her music therapy business is growing because more people are aware of the benefits between art and mental health. (Samantha Samson/CBC)

Kylie Klym says her music therapy business is growing because the link between health and art is getting stronger.

"Regardless of your background or education or age, art — whether it's visual or music — is becoming a great outlet for mental health or overall well being."

Klym owns Kadence Music Therapy in Greater Sudbury. She says she's had more business in recent years because the arts community and those in healthcare are starting to realize the value of combining the two.

The idea of mental health and art is something the Sudbury Arts Council wants to know more about.

To that end, they're conducting a research project to gather data on their members.

There are two surveys — one for individuals and one for groups. The individual survey includes a question about where the artist finds his or her "emotional or mentoring support."

Survey to help artists find support

The research project, which has been ongoing since January 2015, is meant to quantify a growing community.

It also aims to introduce artists to their peers.

"Art is, in a way, solitary when you're working. But I think it's important to have a community that's active and supportive," said Brendan Vidito, who is managing the research project.

"A lot of people relate art to food — people can't live without it. So through the survey and the interviews, we're trying to demonstrate that."

There are a few places in Sudbury for community members to express themselves through art, such as Northern Initiative for Social Action.

But Vidito says there needs to be more connection. He says he hopes that will get stronger once the data is released.

"Once people start seeing how large the art presence is here in Sudbury, it'll be easier for people to reach out and find support and like-minded individuals to inspire and help them through their own processes."

The surveys will be online until the end of the weekend. 

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