First responders create their very own masterpieces

Between August and October, Fortem provided four art masterpiece classes for first responders to learn the art of acrylic painting and create a different painting in every class.

Initially, these art classes were designed as an in-person event, but with Victoria’s hard lockdown the classes quickly changed to virtual so that they could still go ahead. To make it more accessible for first responders, art supplies were posted so they could still participate in the activity.

“I loved that this course could be done online and loved that everything was provided free of charge and stress free.”

– Participant

Art is a mindful activity that allows people to be ‘in the moment’ and present, which contributes to happiness through being absorbed in the activity and achieving a sense of accomplishment. 

A local artist provided step-by-step instructions and as it was generally the same people attending each class, participants were able to build social connection with others too.

The benefits of this art class included the removal of perceived barriers of having to attend in-person. Additionally, participants were surprised at how easy it was to create their own beautiful painting and, as this class was designed for beginners, it was a very safe way to learn a new skill.

“It was fun on every level. I was so much happier on my painting days and much calmer after.”

– Participant

An indirect benefit of it being a virtual activity was that it became a more mindful activity as participants could be in the present moment as they painted in the quiet of their own home. Finally, these classes boosted participant’s self-esteem, as by the end of the class, they were always amazed at what they’d created!

“I really felt the follow on from these days. I found myself riding bikes with the kids after or playing soccer in the park. Things I normally ‘wouldn’t have time for’. It put things in perspective and brought out the best in me on those days. When I look at the painting, I see the person I am trying to be, active engaged and in the moment.”

– Participant

After the success of this art masterpiece series, we’re going to offer this activity again for 2022, hopefully as an in-person event. Keep an eye on our Wellbeing Activities Calendar for more details.