'Artists Among Us' Gala 2022 - Rachel Konschuh and Lisa Jacobs

Rachel Konschuh and Lisa Jacobs

Rachel Konschuh and Lisa Jacobs performing at Hope Bridges Society 'Artists Among Us' Gala

The Hope Bridges Society hosted their 15th annual gala on Oct. 16 featuring a host of musical performances.

Sheila Konschuh, who spoke on behalf of the Hope Bridges Society, explained the organization is a non-profit within the community which “uses the universal language of the arts,” to help people build friendships and connections.

“It has been a tremendous experience to develop the gala each year. We feature our drumming group and our singing group and we also have guest performers attend too,” said Konschuh. “This year we had the Rosebud School choral in attendance … and we also had Jesse Dollimont and many more.”

The gala is an important opportunity to celebrate everything society members accomplish and believe in.

Similarly, Konschuh said it is a joy to be able to put on a show for a receptive audience in a full house.

“Year over year, we do grow and what we are able to do changes year over year and of course, during the pandemic we had some struggles — we had to close our office and our studio,” said Konschuh. “For quite a bit of time we had to offer our music and drumming via Zoom and although that was good and we were happy to be able to do it, it is nothing like being together in person.”

The Hope Bridges Society, based in Strathmore and Wheatland County, is a by-product of Project HOPE and operates as a therapeutic program offered to students in the Golden Hills School Division.

As a partner focus, programs for adults are also available for those who are experiencing feelings of isolation for reasons including but not limited to disability and old age.

Among its services, are inclusive music and arts-based classes, workshops and kits for those who express interest. The activities are facilitated around the goal of breaking down barriers for people and making those who use the service feel at home and find a sense of belonging.

The society has also been involved in community projects such as the painted quilts and trail tours around Strathmore, the Belong Beach and the Flight Mural.

“I think our mission remains very solid, that with everything we do, we incorporate hospitality and a spirit of excellence,” said Konschuh. “We are just hoping to continue to facilitate connection and friendship through inclusive arts activities in our community … as time progresses, we will continue to re-evaluate and hopefully be able to offer more activities.”

Between 300 and 400 people were in attendance at this year’s gala.