Practice Makes Practice is a community engagement methodology. The project encourages individual and community well-being, is accessible and engaging for multiple demographics, and results in neighbourhood beautification and anti-graffiti measures that are unique to the community.
This project addresses a growing need within urban centres for solutions to the alienation and isolation that can negatively impact the community experience. Research has shown that loneliness can lead to mental illnesses and addiction, so pro-active strategies are needed to connect neighbours and encourage individual mental health practices.
Practice Makes Practice aims to teach participants to improve their mental health and engage in a group activity through meditative doodling. The benefits of drawing and colouring on individual and social well-being are well documented, and in recent years adult colouring books, therapeutic drawing, and “zendoodling” have emerged as effective self-help tools. Through their popularization, these activities have re-introduced the act of drawing as an accessible and beneficial activity rather than a high-art skill that only a few can enjoy.
Practice Makes Practice involves a series of workshops where participants take a few minutes out of their day to doodle in a casual, meditative atmosphere. The workshops can be modified for scheduled events, to fit into existing programming at community centres, or as a drop-in for passersby. In the workshops, participants will be encouraged to draw freely, using simple lines and patterns, thus alleviating the pressure of making a “good” drawing. Templates will be provided as guidance, and participants can choose to doodle individually, or groups can create a collective doodle together. Like an art or yoga practice, the purpose of this type of drawing is to enjoy the process rather than focus on the end result. Participants will meet new people, learn new skills, and will be encouraged to continue meditation doodling as a mental health practice in their own time.
After the community workshops are complete, Guindon extracts and recombines elements from the participants’ doodles to create a design that reflects the unique experience of the community workshops. Repeating, symmetrical patterns will radiate from a central point, and the resulting design will have multiple interpretations, simultaneously invoking a labyrinth, stained-glass rose window, Rorschach ink blot, mandala, or kaleidoscope – all symbols of the spiritual, mindful, or peaceful, but without the specificity of any one denomination, philosophy, or approach. The design can be used for multiple applications (utility wraps, street banners, murals, projections, etc), and will further beautify the neighbourhood and encourage contemplation and collective well-being.