Pivot Point program returns for 2nd year, aims to connect LGBTQIA+ community
Steamboat Creates’ Pivot Point workshops are in full swing this month, and this year, the program is focused on connecting the LGBTQIA+ in the Yampa Valley to each other and to themselves.
The program — officially called Pivot Point: Creative Tools for Personal Empowerment — launched last year and aims to educate on how to explore and use creativity in a variety of situations.
“Through a communitywide survey that we did as an organization, we recognized that there is an opportunity for providing arts in a healing setting,” Program Director Sylvie Piquet said. “It’s not art therapy but mental health-informed creative spaces. We educate on how to use a variety of mediums as a form of healing, and we want folks to be able to connect with others and have a sense of self-empowerment.”
Last year, the workshops focused on responding to the pandemic. They were open to anyone who was facing isolation, stress and uncertainty during that time. A new theme is created each year.
While several workshops have already taken place in the past few weeks, upcoming workshops include the Song Bird Series, Envisioning You and this weekend’s Allies United, which offers local families and friends of the LGBTQIA+ community a chance to connect.
The weekend’s workshop, which will be held on both Saturday and Sunday, features a panel of allies who have family members, age 7 to 21, who are transgender, nonbinary or LGBTQIA+. The workshop will include creative projects, such as expressive writing and free-form creation, and the panel will discuss asking hard questions and finding a community of allies.
“Having LGBTQIA+ family members and friends poses a process for loved ones as well,” Piquet said.
This workshop will help attendees learn how to navigate new language and understand the challenges faced by those who identify as LGBTQIA+, as well as discovery a community within Routt County.
Each Pivot Point workshop is hosted by both a mental health professional, as well as an artist instructor.
Chelsie Holmes is the artist instructor for the Song Bird Series, which started Nov. 7 and will also take place Nov. 14 and 21. This workshop focuses on songwriting and recording for all music abilities.
In the first session, the group dissected a song to discover the many facets of it. The remaining two sessions of the workshop will be focused on recording parts of songs to eventually bring them together and have several complete pieces that were collaboratively made.
“I hope the participants gain an appreciation for the value of creating just for the sake of it,” Holmes said. “A lot of folks think that if you’re not bound for fame and fortune as a musician, there’s no point in creating music, but that is just not the case. Songwriting is a form of raw self-expression that can help you process all kinds of emotions from pain to celebration.”
On Thursday, Piquet led a workshop called “Envisioning You.” Together with Whitney Bakarich, they guided participants on how to create vision boards and how to uncover the themes and directions that emerge from the process.
On Tuesday, local nonprofit REPS — Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide — will lead a free training on how to address and prevent suicide.
The cost of each workshop varies, and scholarships are available so anyone who wants to can participate.
“Arts are a powerful tool for engaging in emotions and whatever is going on in our lives,” Piquet said. “Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, art can still have a place in your life.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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