In every community, there are gaps of need. On the whole, there ought to be more giving and helping one another. It sounds like an obvious sentiment, but it’s difficult to put into practice as an individual, especially when you’re working with pre-existing conditions and servicing people with different lives than your own. A big part of my dive into community care was practicality: start with a small, tangible thing I can offer.

A tricky element of conducting community care is knowing when it’s wanted. What’s the point of offering something that doesn’t really land as helpful? To avoid causing harm regardless of intentions, to offer without being invasive, and being informed on anything outside of my lived experience; these are things I have learned to prioritize.

Since Naeco Studio believes in the power of artistic modalities as a way of expressing, healing, and coming together, the community care that I facilitate arts-based. Sometimes it’s as simple as allocating or collecting donations of artistic supplies to get the ball rolling, or calling attention to other locals towards a cause that needs intervention. Sometimes it’s homemade zines, personalized letters, or making crafts with someone who has requested companionship.

Community care, and mutual aid in particular, is rooted in anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, racial justice, gender justice, and disability justice. The history of doing things For The People and helping one another, has been sustained by marginalized groups as a means of survival. This legacy and its practices are unfortunately still required due to the inequity present today. The rich history ought to be credited to those groups, and is not to be confused with charity. Community care looks like giving without the expectation of receiving by liberating people to be able to participate through their own autonomy. It involves filling gaps of need in a way that works in alliance with activism to dismantle contributing factors of inequity in the first place.

Below are several instances of community care that Naeco Studio has spearheaded. The hope is that sharing these will inspire additional ideas of community care from those who have the means to do so. If you have any leads or ideas about community care projects that you’d like to collaborate on, especially arts-based opportunities, please get in touch.

2022 Press Release

Naeco Studio (in collaboration with Outlet Collective) was contacted to spearhead four murals in the new Maplewoods Centre at UoG. We orchestrated the project from planning, calls for community muralists, designing collaborative workshops, cultivating supplies, etc. Here are a few highlights from our interview with Guelph Arts Council:

They launched a call for submissions on January 17, seeking to prioritize spaces for individuals who self-identify as: Indigenous, Black, POC, LGBTQ2I+, individuals with mental health conditions, including addictions, and people with visible and/or invisible disabilities. “We are committed to making this project accessible for all participants,” they emphasized.

“Murals in spaces that provide mental health resources to community members have the power to not only express care and make the space feel lighter, but they’re also an opportunity for representation (…) fostering understanding and belonging.”

Community Canvases

Naeco Studio, in collaboration with Outlet Collective, facilitated a community-engaging event of art-making as a response to a pre-existing initiative. The evening involved guided art warmups leading to collaborative abstract mark-making on 30+ canvases. These canvases were donated to the Grace Gardens Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative in Guelph, which provided permanent homes and living supports for 30+ folks in the community to alleviate them from the housing crisis and the over-crowded, short-term shelter support alternatives. By inviting community to make mindful, collaborative art for these spaces, it was our hope that individuals would find their new homes to feel less clinical and more warm/encouraging A photo montage of finished paintings can be found here:

Call for Action: 2020, onwards

Writing Letters to Elderly in Isolation

In 2020, Naeco Studio compiled a list of Canadian organizations who were accepting letter submissions to the elderly in isolation as a result of COVID-19. This was one of the first times Naeco Studio had pushed for a call to action, but it was far from the last.

Instagram slides from Call to Action
Instagram slide from a call for art donations

Naeco Studio continued giving art, letters, and cards to the elderly throughout the pandemic, as well as collecting these sorts of donations from locals who wanted to contribute. Many of these gestures began with an Instagram call for action.

On one occasion, a community member made a public post in a local Guelph group asking for a few letters or art made by kiddos for elderly folks at their place of work. Naeco Studio got in touch with them and organized many artists to make hundreds of works, letters from community members, and works from kids as well.

Founder, Jessica Wilson, beside portable gallery “For The Economy”

“For The Economy” Portable Public Gallery , 2020
A mix of found and original photographs and text pieces, focused on the impacts of the pandemic on the immunocompromised (like founder, Jess Wilson). Also an effort to make art viewable to the public while galleries were closed, and welcomed conversations of empathy from community members.

Housing safety is a human right. So is joy, and the autonomy to express.

Naeco Studio got in touch with a wonderful community member going above and beyond during the COVID pandemic, fillings gaps due to closures. Whether someone’s transition into housing, amid lots of isolation, turns out to be a good experience is largely dependent upon the resources and materials they have access to in the process.

Instagram post from 2021

Encampment Support Network (Toronto) does incredible work with the houseless population to get them supplies as well as assist in media coverage and funding redistribution in efforts for community-oriented mindsets, especially when it comes to precarious housing.

I noticed the effects that signage had on their media coverage, how encampment residents found short expressions of love and resilience to get their messages across to press. They were also quite decorative, and I figured between the right to communicate and the need for creative solace, art supplies would be a worthy offering. I reached out to ESN and they confirmed it indeed was. This call for donations was Naeco Studio’s contribution.

Public Portraits


Asking strangers if I can take their portrait is a process with many layers. First- the hurdle of embarrassment that comes from speaking to someone you don’t know, then the blushing smiles of those I’m trying to capture, and most of all, an exchange. Whether it be a story to listen to, a laugh, or just the witnessing of growth in front of a lens. I don’t have people pose, I have them tell me about themselves, just where I found them. There’s something about this process that’s raw and manages to connect me to my community. I think people feel seen, heard, and out of that comes some new sense of belonging.