New festival celebrating stories of joy slated for spring 2022

CIRCLES OF JOY- A new series of workshops exploring the topic of joy soon to launch in Prince Edward County. (Submitted Photo)



The Department of Illumination, in conjunction with Kick Start Arts, welcome the public to participate in a new creative project: Circles of Joy. The free, online workshops will explore stories of joy and will culminate in a Festival of Joy in spring.

“Throughout the pandemic it’s been easy to feel disconnected, and moments of joy may have felt fleeting,” wrote Dalby. “Circles of Joy is a free online workshop series intended to reunite participants with that joyous spark inside themselves through sharing uplifting stories with each other, and then later, with the community.”

Storytelling workshops will take place from December 1 to 13, facilitated by Artistic Director, Krista Dalby. The workshops are intended to be relaxed and interactive with a focus on connection, fun and the creative process of finding and telling beautiful stories of joy.

From the workshops, 30 stories will be recorded and housed in an online Archive of Joy

In speaking with the Gazette, Dalby explained there will be prompts offered, but that any and all stories are welcome.

“We offer workshop participants a series of prompts to get their imaginations going, but stories can be about anything,” she said. “We also find that stories beget stories; listening to other people’s experiences may remind you of stories of your own.”

There is no prior experience necessary.

“We all have stories to tell,” wrote Dalby.

When asked how the two artistic organizations collaborated, Dalby replied that they had been introduced several years ago.

“We met the folks from Kick Start Arts a few years ago through Andrea Piller, a local artist who works regularly with both our companies,” said Dalby. “This is our second project with them; earlier in the pandemic we did a research project called Digital Strategies, where we created a digital toolkit for artists and arts who are looking for best practices and resources to support their work online.”

In response to the stories, a selection of artists will create a response to the stories in various genres. These could be, but are not limited to, dance, painting or song.

“The artists creating the responses to the stories will be a mix of local artists and artists from Toronto,” said Dalby.

When asked about the inspiration for this project, Dalby commented that while the pandemic has been undoubtedly challenging, there is still joy to be had.

“There’s no denying that the pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone. However, joyful stories and memories live within all of us, and the act of teasing them out of ourselves and sharing them with each other is really powerful and uplifting,” she posited.

The Festival of Joy will take place on May 14, 2022, at Picton’s Macaulay Heritage Park, where the public will be able to experience these joyful artistic responses.

Registration is available to County residents age 15 and over on a first-come, first served basis. Find out more and register at

 Founded in 2013, The Department of Illumination is a not-for-profit arts organization whose mission includes bringing joy and creativity to Prince Edward County. To find out more go to