It's been a very big year for The Bleeding Heart Art Space. This is the year we became a space. But that was just last month. A lot happened on the way to that space. A lot of you showed up and taught art, faith and community to dance.
It is hard to narrow down my 12 favourite posts of 2014. Do I choose the posts I had the most fun writing? Those that got the most comments? The most reads?
In the end, I've chosen the dozen posts that, for me, best represent the last 12 months of The Bleeding Heart Art Space journey.
Way back in January, I launched the Grow Your Art Challenge. It was largely a selfish endeavour, as I wanted to grow myself as an artist. But the more I thought about that, the more I thought it would be so much more fun to grow together. With you. So I put the challenge out there to anyone who wanted in. Choose an artistic goal. You have a year to complete it. We'll hold you to it. We'll celebrate when we're all done. Or not done.
With 2 days to go, I can safely say I have failed at my own challenge. But I've failed wonderfully well, and my goal is still alive. It will be done, and it has led me many wonderful places this past year. And we are still having that party.
Dear artist, we love you. So began our first ever Artist Valentine. The Valentine was an original design and well received. It was encouraging to watch this put a smile on people's digital faces, and we'll certainly send a new one out come February 2015.
This post marks the first time I realized that an organization named The Bleeding Heart should be all over Valentines Day.
Obscured date by obscure date, we've made it a little, sideways goal to bring ancient Christian holy days into the light. Ash Wednesday was the first such liturgy we engaged in, in 2012. This year we did not have our own Ash Wednesday gathering, but I did post an original poem to mark the occasion.
It would be wrong to mention a day like this without thanking the makers of Salt of The Earth: A Christian Seasons Calendar – an alternate view of time as we know it, and a reminder that the Church marches on to her own beautiful beat.
For this special Sacred Space event called Mary/Martha, we teamed up with the good people of St. Faith's Anglican Church.
This post marks the time when I saw the value in sharing these experiences, in detail, so that those who couldn't join us can still get something from the gathering, and perhaps be inspired to craft their own. The event also underscores a deeply rich relationship with the Anglican church that continues today.
Neighbourhood artist Marcie Rohr submitted work for Bridge Songs: Dear Edmonton, and her series of paintings became a featured post on our blog. Marcie also wrote a letter to our city. A letter that perfectly captured the complicated feelings we all have for this ice-cold oil town. But maybe that's just December talking.
With this post, the relationship between Marcie Rohr and The Bleeding Heart deepened, leading to further collaborations (one of which is just around the corner).
I was starting to venture into the waters of Mega-List-Posts. I'll admit that the primary goal here was drawing more readers to the blog, and expanding our niche a little bit. It has worked.
These long list posts (like the one I'm writing right now) take a long time to craft well. But they also stand outside of time, which is good. They are not the type of updates that become irrelevant when an event has come and gone. They are 'evergreen'. This means that this post is just as valuable today as it was when I wrote it. Which, if you still haven't heard of or tried any of those 19 tools, is quite valuable indeed.
Part of our mandate at the Bleeding Heart is to help artists achieve excellence, and sharing what we've learned along the way is a part of that.
This was the biggie. Likely the most read, most commented on post I'd written to date. I knew it was a little odd not to carry a cell phone, but I didn't know just how interesting that oddity might be. It turns out my reflection on technology's role in my life gave voice to the wrestling of many restless hearts. It certainly made me question my decision to live just a little off the grid.
I ended the piece realizing that our relationship to technology is deeply personal, and always evolving. Discernment is required at every turn.
It's about time I wrote a follow up to this post. I now have a cell phone.
This post marked two milestones. My completion of a massive series reflecting on the Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and my first public use of the word 'twerking'. It may have been my last use, too.
This post garnered good responses and high click-through rates. I'd like to think it was the incredibly rich quality of my writing. But the more realistic version of myself thinks it was that word that drew attention.
This post makes me very excited to return to the Glen this summer – and hopefully bring some of you along (early bird registration ends Dec 31).
Fall begins on Alberta Avenue with the mighty Kaleido Family Arts Festival. For the second year, The Bleeding Heart Space was serving up food and ambiance for the hundreds of volunteers needing a short rest.
This time, we had a camera, too. When the floors were swept and the dust settled, I shared 34 photos – 34 moments that, for me, made the weekend one of 2014's highlights.
A 2014 highlight reel cannot miss the launch of our brand new space at 9132 118th ave. There were few posts I was so excited write as this announcement that we would take up permanent residence in Elm Catering's living room. It felt like writing down my dream, except that this time, it was real.
This post was such big news, in fact, that it beats out four others for a spot in the 2014 annals. This was the same month where I asked 'Why is Beauty?', shared photos and stories from '13 European Art Experiences I'll Never Forget', took you to the amazing abandoned Temelhoff Airport in Berlin and showed you how I use the magic of Trello to put the first 10 minutes of my day to good use.
But I can't mention all of that, because this was also the month we got our space.
Ah, the Artluck. This November Artluck was to be the first time we gathered in the new space to share beauty and snacks. But with renos on our new space in full swing, it instead became the final Artluck I hosted in my home – always a great honour.
With work from old friends like Marcie Rohr, Edward Van Vliet, Adam Tenove and Wenda Salomons, as well as newcomers like Aydan Dunnigan, this Artluck reminded me why I love these every-so-often get togethers. In fact, I think it's time for another, don't you?
Even if this were not among the most viewed posts ever on our blog, it would be a personal favourite of mine. CBC producer Isabelle Gallant put together a beautiful, in-depth story that reflects the heart behind Blue Christmas, and what The Bleeding Heart Art Space is all about in general. I am so grateful for Isabelle's care and attention on this piece, and hopeful that this is only the beginning of a good story at the new Bleeding Heart Art Space.
I write this on the very first day of 2015, with so much to look forward to. We'll be launching a creative coworking space. Bridge Songs: Perfict is just around the river bend. We'll celebrate our achievements from last year's Grow Your Art Challenge, and begin a new one.
You and I are about to blow those 2014 stories out of the water.