Hundreds of people recently gathered at the Bronson Centre in Ottawa for an end of year artist showcase but this wasn’t your typical showcase. Called Ashes to Rubies, the event blended music and inspiration as the performers all had something in common―they’ve all overcome addiction or struggle and have lived to tell the world about it.
While there are many artist showcases happening in cities all over North America, what was unique about this show was the theme―hope. That’s why founder Jon Ruby launched the movement; to “give hope a platform”.
“Ashes to Rubies is a movement that shares hope through stories and art at monthly community events”, said Ashes to Rubies founder Jon Ruby. “We represent a lifestyle of hope and freedom; breaking down barriers, erasing stigma and raising awareness about addiction, mental health and other life challenges”.
Performers included Leif, Soul Physical, Kayla R., Hanna S., Johnny B, Johanne Beattie from local duo Honey & Rust, and Smak Shad, a father of two from Fredericton, New Brunswick who had been addicted to alcohol for 10 years before getting sober.
Also gracing the stage was Atlanta cancer survivour Heidi Floyd who shared her story of fighting cancer while pregnant. Last to hit the stage was the headliner, Philadelphia rapper Eshon Burgundy who shared his story of surviving being shot at close range and how his belief in God changed his life.
While some shows are all about bright lights and special effects, Ashes to Rubies was a breath of fresh air, focused more so on real artistic expression and authenticity. It was also a well-needed dose of hope and community at a time of year when people need it most.