Handle With Care, an experimental art-making workshop exploring concepts of healing, thriving and collective power, was not made to hold people through lockdown. The first workshop was held at Fairfield PYT on June 1st, with plans to meet in person once a month. We moved the July workshop online, assuming everything would be back to normal by August. It was not.

Handle With Care is a series of monthly workshops where participants gather and explore healing, thriving and power through different art-forms. Over the past few months, participants have made collages, taken photographs, made playlists and played games. They’ve written letters, poems and short stories. All of them, participants and facilitators alike, are playing with new art forms while asking different questions like:

  • What does joy sound like?
  • When is it best to wield or yield your power?
  • What does the light at the end of the tunnel illuminate?

Though the workshops were not originally planned to go online, they became an important way for participants to stay connected through lockdown. Through Zoom, Google Jamboards and a number of screen breaks, participants were still able to gather together once a month. Through the ambiguous grief of stay-at-home orders, Handle With Care became a monthly outlet for creativity and connection. We can’t meet up or go outside, but we can still make art together. Healing, thriving and collective power are all still possible.

Screenshot of a Google Jamboard covered with photos, drawings and text. The title says: Check-In: One Word Titles. A post it note describes the activity: draw the landscape of your brain in one minute, and then give it a one word title. Titles include: Brr, Smudge, Blocked, and Waiting.

Handle with Care will eventually curate the created artworks into a print zine to be shared with the young people of Miller at the Generate2168 festival. The zine is a gift for the participants and its future readers. The hope is that readers using the zine will be able to have a glimpse of the space we created through Handle With Care. Whether online or in person, the Handle With Care space was crafted with care, safety and room to bring our full selves inside. 

Handle With Care’s last workshop of the month will be on the first Tuesday of November. The printed zine will be shared with the public in 2022. 

Handle With Care is facilitated by Miranda Aguilar, with mentorship and co-facilitation assistance from Andrea Lim.

Handle With Care has been made possible through support from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and Fairfield City Council’s Social Change through Creativity Grant.