The City of Victoria’s artist in residence, Kathryn Calder, created a toll-free phone line designed to give people a calm escape during COVID-19. (Photo by Steve Calder)

The City of Victoria’s artist in residence, Kathryn Calder, created a toll-free phone line designed to give people a calm escape during COVID-19. (Photo by Steve Calder)

Victoria’s artist in residence creates toll-free ‘Be Calm’ phone line

Phone line offers meditation, poetry, children’s laughter

From meditation to Indigenous stories to children’s laughter, a new toll-free phone line offers people from Victoria and beyond a calming escape from everyday and pandemic-induced difficulties.

The phone line is the creation of Kathryn Calder, who was named Victoria’s artist in residence in 2019.

“My goal was to create an interactive phone line to help bring comforting sounds and joy to those who are feeling isolated and may have challenges accessing an online platform,” Calder said, noting that many older adults have had an especially hard time staying in touch throughout the pandemic. “My hope is the phone line will help connect our communities until we can all be together again.”

RELATED: LIVE MUSIC: Artist in Residence reaching into the community

Callers can choose to listen to nine different audio selections: B.C. nature sounds, Indigenous stories and songs, poetry, Francophone poetry, Canadian contemporary music, instrumental music, children’s laughter, guided meditation and ambient music.

Selections feature some local artists and storytellers, such as Victoria’s Indigenous artist in residence Dylan Thomas’s story of the Salish wool dog. One of Calder’s songs, Song in Cm, is also featured.

Non-artists have the opportunity to contribute too. Calder is inviting parents who want their child’s laughter to be featured on the phone line to send audio recordings along with a release form to her by Feb. 7.

She also noted that content will change periodically, so interested people should continue to check in.

More information about the 1-877-2BE-CALM (1-877-223-2256) project can be found at victoria.ca/becalm.

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RELATED: Greater Victoria woman creates ‘call list’ for seniors to tackle loneliness


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