I am an Occupational Therapist and an artist who has worked at the Art Studios since its early beginning. For twenty years I have been privileged to work with many individuals who have a mental illness and/or addiction who are artists. They did not know they were artists before they came to The Art Studios and participated in classes.
But over time they have developed amazing skills which they now use to draw, paint (both acrylics and watercolour), make mixed media art, lino prints and pottery. They have met other artists and share ideas and are able to go to the Vancouver Art Gallery to be inspired by the art there. There is no cost for these classes and outings, which is extremely important, as most of the members have limited finances.
In addition, a number of these artists moved on to be mentors in Open Studio, or class assistants. Some of them graduated from being assistants to becoming instructors because of their experience and dedication to The Art Studios programs.
As one of the original staff members since 1994, I am proud to have been one of many who have helped create a safe and supportive environment for people to flourish in. I have witnessed firsthand the positive benefits of the art classes and workshops that we offer. Because of these classes clients learn coping skills that help them in their day to day lives. It is because of my belief in the benefits of this program, and my 20 years experience as an O.T. and instructor at The Art Studios that I became a Board Member of VRTAS. This is a unique program in Canada, that has so many benefits, and I hope it is able to continue for another 20+ years with the financial support of YOU!