After their usual one month summer hiatus, Awesome Kingston is back to awarding their $1,000 microgrants to help keep Kingston awesome. This month, the Smash Studio Company was awarded the honour.
The Smash Studio Company is a social enterprise with the mission of suicide prevention. Through a series of events, Smash Studio offers those in the vulnerable sector the opportunity to “art it out.”
Sarah-Chasity Johnson, founder of The Smash Studio Company, is a survivor of domestic violence, and hopes her workshops will help other survivors feel seen, as well as provide them with a safe space to express their feelings through art.
“I want to help those that were born into domestic violence and addiction, and anyone that’s been through some things in relationships, to come and have a safe creating experience,” she said in an interview with Kingstonist.
Her Smash-A-Thons allows everyone to express anger or aggression in a safe manner. With plates and paint, participants can throw their emotions at a wooden surface, and hopefully gain some closure with the finished splatter.
“The broken pieces of glass embedded in the wood resembles the scars that you have. The paint dripping, like it’s just so symbolic, and then you have that piece in front of you. You have that reclaimed anger,” Johnson expressed.
She plans to create a fine art painting out of the smash sessions. This summer, Johnson has held Smash-A-Thons in Amherstview, Amherst Island, Bath, Skeleton Park, and at the Women’s Art Festival.
The finished product will be revealed at a later date, and all the artists involved in the project are active addicts with criminal records. The Awesome Kingston money will be used to pay those artists to work on the project. Once this project is complete, Johnson said it will bring attention to their cause and they will source the materials required to do a large-scale sculpture here in Kingston with the vulnerable sector.
This is the third time Johnson has pitched to Awesome Kingston, and she said she feels very supported by the Kingston community. She shared that she was encouraged to apply a third time by a member of the Rotary Club who was involved with Awesome Kingston, and by Andrew McCann, an Awesome Kingston trustee, who helped her hone her pitch.
“Awesome Kingston believed in me. They saw my projects from the first time I pitched and the value in that, and that means something to the [vulnerable] community. I want the people out there in my demographic to know that people believe in them, and I want them to see that, and I want them to see that Kingston believes in them.”
Johnson has struggled with violence and abuse throughout her life, and this project is not only cathartic for her, but also provides her with a way to give back and support others who are in a similar pattern of abuse, addiction or harm.
“I’m just smashing my way to freedom, is what I’m doing. This is my life’s purpose,” she expressed.
Follow The Smash Studio Company on Facebook for news and upcoming events: https://www.facebook.com/smashthis.co