for life, cinnamon buns and snakes

by Wendy Hollo

We almost lost her.  We arrived at the Nina studios, the old space on 111 Avenue, and were told that one of our lead artists, Cynthia had been rushed to hospital with a stroke.  She was barely past 30 – how can that be?  It was a tumor on her heart and as soon as she was stable they performed surgery to remove it.  She was lucky – we were all lucky – she got treatment with the “golden hour,”  that critical period immediately after a stroke.  But life changed…and things had to be relearned.  Yet, what better place to relearn speech than amongst a studio full of people who often struggle to communicate?  To-day, Cyn is Nina’s office manager and the “go to person” when you need to know anything.

Grandmothers hold a special place in many hearts.  Cassie Chaba, an artist in Nina’s Collective, shared many happy times with her grandmother, Emma Benwood.  Emma passed away in March 2016 and Cassie’s story is a fitting tribute to a woman remembered for her “huge loving heart.”  Spoiler alert – it will leave you craving a hot cinnamon bun straight from the oven!

Carl Philip, another artist in Nina’s Collective, has led a very interesting life. Born in Liverpool, his story takes us on a colourful journey to Montreal, Edmonton, Mazitlan and B.C. and is full of snakes with clever names and a coyote named Roo!  Carl is a popular artist at the Nina. One of his paintings was featured on the cover of our 2016 annual report.  http://thenina.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/AR-2016-1.pdf

Check in next week to meet some of the other people who shared their stories with Jocelyn Brown and Karen Matthews during our digital story telling project.  You can learn more about the project by checking out our March blog, a life in three minutes. http://thenina.ca/2017/04/07/a-life-in-three-minutes/