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Jump into Spring with Hope Bridges Society

By Monique Massiah, Strathmore Standard

Hope Bridges Society’s Go Green Upcycling workshop on October 1 was the transformation of a single door into a three-door Garden Door Divider. The community project was sponsored by Home Hardware. Here workshop facilitator Trish Nelson (left) and participant Diane Dallaire-Chabot sand down one of the pieces.

Hope Bridges Society’s Go Green Upcycling workshop on October 1 was the transformation of a single door into a three-door Garden Door Divider. The community project was sponsored by Home Hardware. Here workshop facilitator Trish Nelson (left) and participant Diane Dallaire-Chabot sand down one of the pieces.

There's a bunch to do and so many ways to create with a bright and welcoming community at Hope Bridges Society this spring.


This spring of 2018 brings with it three wonderful programs offered to all adults, the Painted Quilts project, Sing Your High Note and Go Green Upcycling.

Sing Your High Note

Sing Your High Note is held two times per month on the second and fourth Tuesday.

It's a therapeutic music program according to Wanda Reinholdt, co-ordinator for Hope Bridges Society. Sing Your High Note is facilitated by JB Music Therapy.

"It's a great way for people to very simply come, they don't have to know how to read music, they don't have to know how to read words. They can just come and enjoy the music, or they can use the books. We have song books to choose music from. Sometimes we do spontaneous music. Sometimes we play instruments," she said.

The program is led by JB Music Therapy's Jesse, the therapist.

"She helps people relax and have fun and just use both sides of the brain and have a music experience," said Reinholdt. Sing Your High Note is held in the youth room at Hope Community Covenant Church.

Go Green Upcycling

Go Green Upcycling is a workshop that is held at the Hope Bridges Studio and is facilitated by Trish Nelson and upcycling artist.

It's the only upcycling workshop in the Calgary region. It was our very first workshop," said Reinholdt. Go Green Upcycling is held on Thursdays at the Hope Bridges Studio.

"Upcycling on Thursday mornings, the first week is focused on our community project. This spring we decided not to do an auction, we were looking at the future of hope bridges and just doing some strategic planning, so we wanted to take a break from our auction to give us some time and space to do some planning around our future," said Reinholdt. She explained that normally the community project is sold at the spring auction.

"It's very important for Hope Bridges that we are always doing something for the community and this particular community project is a surprise," she said.

"It's a very useful thing. It's not going to be displayed per say, although it could be. But it's going to be something that a family will be able to really enjoy," she said.

Nelson, Reinholdt and all of the participants of the Go Green Upcycling have a vision for the community project.

"It's really exciting to see that they are thinking about how they can help the community. We are encouraging that kind of thinking, that kind of approach to doing art. That it can benefit you and I individually, but it can definitely also benefit the community," said Reinholdt.

Participants work on the project during the first Thursday of the month and the second and third week are dedicated to individual projects.

"This month we are building drums out of upcycling materials. You will be able to use them for rhythm. That's going to take two weeks to do, because drums, they have a lot of different steps, but we have figured out a simple way that anybody can create a drum," she said.

The final week of the month is dedicated to open studio time.

"We simply come together and if anybody has missed the first, second or third week, they can do whatever they want to catch up," she said.

Painted Quilts

A visible sign of Hope Bridges communal art in downtown Strathmore are the Painted Quilts.

"We are a community arts organization with the focus on connecting around art, not the focus of creating art, but the focus of connecting around art and connecting not only with each other, but with our community," said Reinholdt.

"We are excited that we are very close to having all of our quilts installed. There's just a couple that are taking a little bit longer than we anticipated, but we are doing well," said Reinholdt. Each quilt now is mounted with plaques that note who made the quilts and when they were made.

In the near future Hope Bridges will be producing a brochure that will detail information about all of the quilts and their locations. The organization gave special thanks to Fortis Alberta for their help in installing the quilts.

"Clare from Fortis has been awesome at helping us put up those quilts. That's been a great partnership we are thankful for that," said Reinholdt.

With the spring season also comes a chance for Hope Bridges Society to work on strategic planning for the future.

"We are very encouraged and excited about this spring as we do some strategic planning and as we begin to have conversations with different organizations that we've partnered with in the past," said Reinholdt.

"We've been having conversations, our partners have been calling us and saying 'hey can we do something again,'" she said.

This year Hope Bridges Society also hopes to move out into Wheatland County and expand their services into a few new communities. One such program is Hand Built Pottery with Charlene Hart.

"We're taking pottery into a new part of the county. We've never been there before," Reinholdt said. This year they will be creating bowls and plates starting in late March, or early April.

"Our mandate has always been to serve Strathmore and Wheatland County, it's never just been one or the other, it's been both and we've just took a bit of a break paired down to just three workshops and project and now we are starting to build again," said Reinholdt.

"It's so important to us that these opportunities are accessible. What I mean by that is that if somebody can't go out, we go to them. That is one of the reasons why we are going into the county. It's because that community has a number of people that can't come out, so we are going to them," she said.

She stressed that if individuals know of a community in need to contact Hope Bridges Society.

"We want to know what people are needing and what they are looking for. We are very interested in having those conversations. I think it's going to be a great 2018," said Reinholdt.


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