Photos by Sarah Smart
I suffered a head injury in 2020 after I tripped over my small dog and fell down the stairs. It was a freak accident but I suffered a concussion and have had "post-concussion syndrome" ever since. My symptoms include headaches, vision problems, balance issues, and confusion. Nothing seemed to help. Then, a friend suggested I try CBD. I did and almost immediately I was able to sleep better, concentrate on work, and get back to my normal life.
I have to admit that I was one of those people stigmatized by the cannabis stereotypes. To be blunt, I wasn’t exactly an educated consumer and I didn't want to be thought of as a "stoner." But once I discovered how helpful CBD was, I wanted to continue to explore the curative properties of cannabis. I tried oil, gummies, and CBD teas (who knew?!?) and they worked wonders on the pain pressure in my head. Cannabis has been a part of my life ever since and now I'm a proud advocate!
So, when I was invited to take part in the 420-friendly event Art in the Park, hosted by HiBnb, I eagerly accepted but didn’t know what to expect. The event was led by a visual artist named Kyla, who encouraged participants to explore their artistic creativity. She provided guests with an art pack, a canvas, and other supplies, including a pre-roll ‘Prairie Grass B-Banner’ from SpiritLeaf Little Italy and Shelter Cannabis. The weed was a bonus gift and aspiring artists were not expected nor required to smoke, though Kyla told us that smoking might help spark our imagination and inspiration.
Artists unite with supplies and smiles for Art in the Park
The environment was laid back and welcoming. It was a judgment-free zone and everyone enjoyed getting out and being creative. Before we delved into our masterpieces, we had a "free draw" using paper on clipboards to create rough drafts. That was helpful for me since I was a little rusty and had a hard time getting started. I realized I hadn’t sat down and tapped into my creative side through art since I was a kid.
Kyla suggested we free our minds and let our pen flow across to paper to see what we came up with. Since I was in Christie Pitts Park, I drew leaves, blades of grass, little bugs flittering in the air, and rain clouds. My husband lapsed even further back into childhood, replicating doodles he used to draw in the margins of his school work. I could see how much he was enjoying it and how he probably hadn’t thought of these doodles in years.
"Free drawing" to prepare for canvas creations
When I asked Kyla about the event, she told me she started supervising Art in the Park after she saw a "help wanted" ad from HiBnb. Combining her love for art and cannabis was a dream come true. When we finished our free drawings and were ready to start working on canvas, Kyla guided us through mixing different colours of paint, showed us how to create various textures, and explained how literally anything could function as a paintbrush. At one point, the wind blew a plastic bag off the ground and it landed on her painting. She removed it and showed us that it was covered in blue paint.
“Why don’t we use this as an inspiration and paint with the bag?!?” she exclaimed. “You could paint using your hands or even your joints if you wanted to!” She smeared the corner of the bag onto her painting, creating a streak of different shades that looked like a rainbow as it mixed with the other colours.
As the evening progressed, the attendees started to mingle. Some people reached outside their circle of friends and explored their surroundings. They admired other participants’ art, traded paint colours and brushes, and lit each other’s pre-rolls. It felt like we were one big community with the common goals of being creative and having fun. When we finished our works of art, we laid them out on a large tarp to enjoy. The tarp became a sea of dark orange suns, purple creatures, and bright, dripping plants reaching to the sky.
Chillin' out between artistic adventures
As an Art in the Park participant, I was able to “lose myself” in art in a way I hadn’t in decades. No doubt, the products from SpiritLeaf helped unlock my inner creativity and might have made the activity more enjoyable than it would have been had I not been using cannabis. It's no secret that marijuana can be a great tool for creativity and a conduit for good times. For those that love cannabis and those that don't, I “Hi”ghly recommend future Art in the Park activities as ways to let your inner artist out for the night.
About the Writer
Sarah Smart is a travel and events blogger from Toronto. Since suffering a head injury, she turned to CBD for pain relief and has been using cannabis for wellness ever since.