When Craftathon was started in 2016, it was because we knew that providing time and space for our 2SLGBTQ+ community to come together and create beautiful things was incredibly important. Whether it was painting or cooking or papercraft, making art with and for each other nourished us. Many crafters came year after year, offered their time and energy, to ensure that Craftathon reflected the vibrancy and creativity of our community.
2020 has brought with it so many challenges, and perhaps the greatest one is the loss of opportunity for us to come together in physical space. For our community, and our youth members in particular, not being able to share space – to share snacks, to share a laugh, to share our energy – deepens the all too familiar void of isolation we already contend with in non-pandemic times. It can feel like losing one of the pieces of beauty that made everything else a little more bearable.
We made the difficult decision at the beginning of the year to suspend Craftathon until things improved, and months of new developments and conversations have convinced us that we cannot organize another Craftathon the way that we have in the past. Instead, we started dreaming and hoping and working on something that would allow us to come together in a different and better way. Craftathon was restricted to one particular day, in one particular building, in one particular city – a lot of beautiful energy focused on a single point, but not accessible to all of the people who could benefit from it and add to it.
2020 is our prism, splitting that singular beam of Craftathon energy into a rainbow of offerings – our new #Dare2Workshops – across the year, lighting up our living rooms and bedrooms and hastily thrown together home offices to bring us together even when we are apart. Every month a different facilitator will treat us to their talents, leading us through a new skill that maybe we have never had the time or the courage to try out. We will dare to sing, dare to sew, even dare to go on TikTok – but most importantly, we will dare to dream of ways for our community to keep coming together and renewing itself, no matter the chaos that surrounds us.
Craftathon was LGBT YouthLine’s annual fundraiser where participants raise funds for YouthLine by attending a day full of crafts and crafting workshops. Each event took place in a space in Toronto during March. You can view the journey of LGBT YouthLine’s Craftathon here: