Meet our Organizers: Crystal Massier from Eden Care Communities

Culture Days

Feb 15, 2022

Meet our Organizers Series
Email

The annual Culture Days celebration would not be possible without the creativity, hard work, and passion of our organizers. Through this series we want to highlight some exceptional organizers and arts and culture champions who help make the Culture Days celebration what it is across Canada. We recently spoke with organizer Crystal Massier who shared more about the arts and culture work she does with Eden Care Communities to create opportunities for individuals of all ages to live their best life. Get to know Crystal below.

Hello Crystal! Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

I am the Community Enrichment Specialist for the Visual Arts program at Eden Care Communities here on Treaty 4 in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Crystal working in the office. Photo credit: Crystal Massier.
Crystal working in the office. Photo credit: Crystal Massier.

Since 2013 I have collaborated with Eden Care Communities, Long Term Care Homes and Supported Living organizations to create Open Studio Art spaces that are welcoming, inclusive, and engaging. I began my exciting career path of engaging intergenerational community art programs through the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s education program, funded through SK Arts.

I joined Eden Care full-time in 2017. My work involves encouraging individuals of all ages to explore the creative process of art making, building connections, and growing to mentor others. Our Open Art Studio space has provided Eden Care Communities Homes and programs throughout Treaty 4 (Regina and Moose Jaw) and Treaty 6 (Saskatoon) to tap into their own well-being through the creation process of art making, collaborating, and community partnerships.

Eden Care Communities is committed to creating opportunities for individuals of all ages to live their best life – a life worth living with meaning, purpose and choice. Can you share a bit more about the organization, how it came to be, and what kind of programs and experiences take place here?

Eden Care Communities is a registered charity that provides support, care, and housing for people ranging in age from six weeks to 106 years. Since 1964, Eden Care Communities has expanded across the province with support and homes in Regina, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw.

Within these cities we offer a variety of programs and services including:

  • Personal Care Homes
  • Group Living Homes
  • Supportive Independent Living Homes
  • Early Learning Child Care
  • Special Care Homes
  • Respite Care
  • Community Day and Wellness Program
  • Home Support

We are committed to creating environments that celebrate music, animals, plants, and children. It is our goal to provide the space to share stories, passions for living, and talents to enrich the living environment for all.

From your perspective as Eden Care’s Community Enrichment Specialist in Visual Arts, what are the benefits of arts and culture initiatives to the health and wellbeing of your senior participants?

Arts and culture initiatives at Eden Care Communities have brought people together both in-person and virtually to create an environment where people can build meaningful relationships, foster growth, and stay connected.

Visual art, storytelling, theatre, music, movement, or dance can connect us. Having an inclusive, welcoming, and engaging art space encourages individuals of any age or ability to come together to create and learn from one another. Finding ways to connect artistically and culturally has increased well-being during these isolating times we are all experiencing.

Showing the community who we are and the talents, passions, and life skills that individuals have living in our homes is one way to break down barriers. Culture Days helps bring communities together—this is something that we value.

Is there anything that surprises or delights you most about working in a space like this?

I have the privilege of working in our Open Studio Art space with individuals of all ages. I am delighted daily with the creativity, passion, and knowledge that each person brings. I enjoy watching individuals explore new mediums, seeing individuals break out of their comfort zones, and encouraging personal growth for individuals to make their own mark.

One thing I love seeing is the artist light up after completing their project and the joy it brings to them, and their friends and family that view it.

In 2018, Eden Care Communities began an annual art exhibition, Making Our Mark, that fuses individual and community collaborations with art, music, movement, theatre, dance and now song writing. Individuals can make their mark and break down social barriers that are associated with living in Long-Term Care, Group Homes, and Assisted Living Communities.

Eden Care Elder of ECC Suites beach ball drumming during the June 1, 2021 Intergenerational Day Celebration. Photo credit: Crystal Massier.
Eden Care Elder of ECC Suites beach ball drumming during the June 1, 2021 Intergenerational Day Celebration. Photo credit: Crystal Massier.

The shifting pandemic continues to present unique challenges for charitable organizations across the country. How is Eden Care adapting to maintain community engagement, accessibility, and participation?

Staying connected is important. Eden Care Communities has been able to maintain connections, community engagement, and participation through the help of grants, dedicated family, community members, and the Care Partner team.

Through the help of technology, we have also been able to strengthen our connections with family members, community members, and partnerships. Since gathering in person has been limited, many programs were accessible virtually, joining together groups that had not previously crossed paths throughout Regina, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw. Art and culture programs occurred virtually, including dance programs that energized people to move, song making that captured who we are, and storytelling that brought individuals together.

We found innovative ways to safely gather as a group by bringing community programs to those who live and visit Eden Care Communities. Through window programming, we were able to interact with the greater community to dance together, drum together, and perform together.

What made you and the Eden Care team decide to participate in Culture Days?

Having opportunities to connect with each other and the larger community brings excitement and joy to Eden Care Communities. Culture Days provides these opportunities to be innovative and engage with the public and to join in and participate virtually in the great programs that we are doing.

Sometimes there is a stigma attached to individuals living in Long-Term Care, Personal Care Homes, Supportive Living, and Group Homes that they can no longer grow, learn new things, or share knowledge based on diverse abilities. Showing the community who we are and the talents, passions, and life skills that individuals have living in our homes is one way to break down barriers. Culture Days helps bring communities together—this is something that we value.

Eden Care Communities, Treaty 4 Moose Jaw and Treaty 6 Saskatoon Homes on Zoom, during the Culture Days 2021 virtual song writing workshops with singer/songwriter Megan Nash. Photo credit: Crystal Massier.
Eden Care Communities, Treaty 4 Moose Jaw and Treaty 6 Saskatoon Homes on Zoom, during the Culture Days 2021 virtual song writing workshops with singer/songwriter Megan Nash. Photo credit: Crystal Massier.

Can you tell us a bit about the Culture Days events and programs that took place at Eden Care in 2021?

Our Re:Imagine Joy, Meaning and Identity culture hub included a virtual songwriting workshop with Juno Award-nominated singer/songwriter Megan Nash. Through the process, the group wrote a song meaningful to them that captured their lives. There was input from individuals of all ages to share ideas, write, and sing Stubborn Hope.

A dance-movement video was also created with FadaDance Troupe and their young dancers to get individuals of all ages moving. This inclusive video includes adaptable movement so everyone can participate.

It’s a brand new year! What are you most excited about for Eden Care in 2022?

We’re excited to grow the connections we’ve created with the artists we collaborated with during the last year and look forward to Culture Days 2022. Our plan is to launch our own Eden Care Communities music video for our song Stubborn Hope. Working alongside FadaDance Troupe, Youth Company, and Megan Nash, we will learn dance moves and sing together to bring together everything from Culture Days 2021.

Banner image: Eden Care Communities Community Day and Wellness Client, glazing her ceramic mug offering for the 2021 Travel Mug Online Art Auction. Photo credit: Crystal Massier.

This article is part of the Meet our Organizers blog series. Find more profiles here.