In support of those affected by COVID-19, neighbourhood friends are posting beautiful photos of their flower rock gardens on Facebook with the hashtag #LoveRocks.
This global pandemic has been ferocious, from its relentless transmission rates, down to the devastating effects on each one of us. Almost overnight, we have all become global citizens, acutely aware of all the social and political issues that were previously overlooked. It's ugly. This contagion paints a picture of our society that we, perhaps, didn't want to see, nor cared to acknowledge. But out of this ugliness came this insurmountable beauty in our humanity. We started seeing kindness in every corner of our community, our province, our country. This solidarity in isolation is one of the most magnificent things I have witnessed.
In my neighbourhood of West Rouge alone, I have seen an incredible bout of mobilization. There is no shortage of neighbours offering to grocery shop for the vulnerable, collecting donations to support the workers at the Altamont care home and supporting small businesses in the community. There is no shortage of cars that line up for a weekly birthday parade to celebrate all the children in the neighbourhood. There is no shortage of philanthropy, no shortage of love. Amidst this chaos is a collective obligation to lift those around us, without asking anything in return. I have had the privilege to witness benevolence and compassion at its peak; hopefully that will not flatten any time soon.
Last week, one of my neighbourhood friends (who works as a frontline paramedic – thank you for your service!) posted a beautiful photo of her flower rock garden on Facebook with the hashtag #LoveRocks. For every post that gets shared, a ten-dollar donation is made to provide emergency care packages to our youth affected by COVID-19. This got me thinking about the connection between art and philanthropy. We often associate sizeable financial contributions as true philanthropy, but we neglect to see how something as simple as a rock can cause such a tremendous ripple. How great is it that simple rock art can connect us in such an impactful way, and how great is it that a painted rock with an uplifting message may be able to lift someone’s spirit who, at this time, may have hit rock bottom?
I am not an artist, far from. I would never have thought that I can contribute meaningfully through art, but this pandemic has shown me otherwise. Everyone has the power to make a difference through art. Paint a rock and put it in your garden. Draw a picture and stick it to your window. Use sidewalk chalk to write an inspiring message on your driveway. Even if you don’t think it matters or has permanence, it does. You matter.
The power of art truly knows no bounds.