Art was created and destroyed at the Arts Station on Monday Mar. 7 as part of the 2nd Annual Fernie Dragathon to raise suicide awareness and raise funds for mental health support services. Here, wonderful Drag Queen Isabella GiaV shows what she was working on. (Image courtesy of Ev Eijsermans)

Art was created and destroyed at the Arts Station on Monday Mar. 7 as part of the 2nd Annual Fernie Dragathon to raise suicide awareness and raise funds for mental health support services. Here, wonderful Drag Queen Isabella GiaV shows what she was working on. (Image courtesy of Ev Eijsermans)

Fernie’s Dragathon for suicide awareness kicks off

An Art Cleansing Session was held at the Arts Station on Monday

As part of the 2nd Annual Fernie Dragathon, folks got creative and then got destructive as part of an ‘Art Cleansing Session’ at the Arts Station on Monday Mar. 7.

It was the first of over half a dozen events taking place over this year’s Dragathon to raise awareness of suicide and raise funds for mental health support services.

14 folks turned out for the event, which Ev Eijsermans of the Elk Valley Suicide Task Force. described as “an opportunity to start off the week of events in an intimate, creative way, whilst the week builds up to the big Drag-Ski-Performance on Friday at Fernie Alpine Resort.”

The Art Cleansing Session was an opportunity for folks to use their creative inner force by painting, drawing and creating in a safe environment where they could share if they wanted.

“We asked people to ask themselves how they were feeling at that time (did not have to share). And do the same thing after the art session, to see if it changed anything in how (they) were feeling,” said Eijsermans.

They could share what they created if they wished, and had an opportunity to destroy it using paint balloons as well.

It’s not for everyone, but Eijsermans said it was a goal of the suicide task force to look for and create more mental health support events such as that one to help people in the valley.

It wasn’t hosted by professional councillors or therapists, but Eijsermans has RCMP Victim Services training so was there as the ‘safety person’ to help anyone that needed to step out.

“We wanted to create an opportunity for people to connect, share and care whilst exploring if creative art would be helpful to them.”

There’s more coming this week as part of the awareness campaign.

This year’s Dragathon is a returning event, which debuted in 2021 as a ‘Mighty Moose Dragathon’ where some fabulous queens did laps on the Mighty Moose at Fernie Alpine Resort to raise funds for suicide awareness.

That event is making a comeback this week on Friday, Mar. 11 at 4:30pm, and is joined by even more events over the week prior to make the event more wide-ranging, and spread suicide awareness and discussion further and to raise more funds for much-needed support services.

Besides the Art Cleansing Session and the Mighty Moose Dragathon, there will be Mental Health themed trivia at the Fernie Hotel, Drag Storytime at the Fernie Library and a Drag Walk through Fernie Downtown, where a gaggle of Queens will be strutting their stuff to talk about mental health.

Funds raised go towards the Elk Valley Suicide Task Force to create suicide support services that fill mental health gaps in the community.

The Dragathon in 2021 raised over $10k.

For more information on events over the week and the Mighty Moose Dragathon itself, visit the Elk Valley Taskforce website at evstf.ca.

READ MORE: Die Hard showing a success: $2,000 raised for Elk Valley Suicide Task Force



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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