Written by Shahid Meighan
As Executive Director of the Walter Hive, Nan McCoy leads her team in creating spaces for creatives and artists from underserved communities to express themselves and see the healing power in art.
“Everything that we do is focused on empowerment. And there’s a therapeutic thread that feeds through all of that,” Nan shared. Founded four and a half years ago, the Walter Hive boasts several different programs aimed at honing creative talent, exposing new artists to different artistic methods, as well as teaching applicable and transferable skills to the community. Some of the holistic programs they offer include teaching sustainable skill sets such as welding and woodworking, developing weekly projects while using art techniques to help process trauma, and collaborating with local community nonprofits to then assist the populations they serve.
“People are saying all the time, I’m not good at art. Well, I bet you are! Like, for example, who put together your outfit this morning, did you go to your closet and put that together? You have creative expression, right? You’re expressing who you are.”
Nan fully believes that everyone has an artist inside of them and that it can truly change someone’s world.
“[Empowerment and creative expression] are important; it matters because it makes people feel like they have a skill that can change their own universe. It isn’t something maybe that will hit a gallery, although it might. Because that’s how artists start. And we have other artists who can attest to that. But it will make you feel like, ‘I can do something’ and it can change your world in 10 minutes.”
The Walter Hive’s newest development, Walter Studios, is open and sits in downtown Phoenix at Roosevelt and 7th Street. Nan encourages everyone to come and learn about creative expressions and try their hand at being an artist and a creative.
“The Hive is where a bunch of people are busy creating, exercising their own creative expression. You know, kids coming in, and we have a lot of team programming, and just introducing the power of creative expression to the entire community. Young, old, marginalized, already empowered, it doesn’t matter. We’re there for you.”
To learn more about the Walter Hive and the programs they offer, visit their website at https://www.thewalterhive.org/about-us/