Member Moments: City Art Centre

City Art Centre aims to provide a safe place, free art supplies, peer support, and encouragement for those 18 years and older who self-identify as living with mental illness. Over the years, members have developed a wide range of styles, forms, and techniques to support individual creative processes. Quality of life is greatly enhanced as feelings are expressed through art and healing is facilitated.

“We are a drop-in Studio & Gallery for adults with mental health challenges. We provide free art supplies for a variety of art media including sketching, drawing and painting with acrylics and watercolours. We get creative using pastels, charcoal, and more! We encourage people to express their inner artist with no prior artistic background required. We encourage members to share their talents, teach others new ideas, and encourage growth as artists in various new and dynamic directions (I. e. creating art with cards, bowl painting, needle work, knitting and crocheting) We have been a peer support, not for-profit organization since 1992. New members and volunteers are always welcome. We have a board of directors. We are open Monday to Friday from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm. Volunteer Coordinators are available each day to assist as needed.”

What is your mission statement?

“City Art Centre is a safe, respectful place for expression through various forms of art, where peer support, self-direction and encouragement elevate the creative spirit.”

What do you love most about what you do?
“We provide a safe non-judgemental community for individuals to express themselves through art in ways they might otherwise not be able to. Our members and board members respect each other and value individual contributions.”

How does the work that you do change the world or give back to our community in a positive way?
“City Art Centre has an open-door policy for individuals experiencing mental health challenges. An important part of City Art Centre is that members are free to be who they are without worry of being labeled or judged. Our community emphasises a non-judgemental environment. City Art Centre offers individuals the opportunity to meet others outside of their homes on a common ground. It promotes community integration and growth through creative expression and through volunteer opportunities.”

City Art Centre has been a foundation for growth for many individuals with mental health challenges:
•Promotes self esteem, self confidence and self validation
•Promotes community spirit
•Promotes diversity within other areas of their lives such as new friendships
•Several of our volunteers develop the confidence to attain paid positions and explore education or careers. City Art Centre promotes independence and focuses on abilities not disabilities.
•We make a difference within multiple levels of our society: micro level (the individual) to macro level (city, province and country).

What do you love most about working at Innovation Works that you are looking forward to coming back to?
“The community atmosphere with central location in London. Accessible to bus routes, wheelchair accessible building with positive common elements such as kitchen, wheelchair accessible bathrooms, elevator and café. All of these features are an asset for our members.”

What is the best thing that has happened for you or your business as a result of working at Innovation Works?
“The positive welcome into the community in a supportive manner, especially supporting our mission as an organization.”

How have you had to adapt your business as a result of COVID-19?
“We have only had meetings outside in the community with PPE equipment and physical distancing. We have been closed due to COVID-19 since moving into Innovation Works.”

Have you been able to contribute to any community initiatives to help those impacted by COVID-19?
“One of our community meetings included “art in the park” to express our feelings and thoughts since the COVID-19 outbreak. Artwork from the gathering will be exhibited to the community when we open again. The artwork will demonstrate who we are as an organization and the impact the virus has had on individual members.”

What do you hope will be different about the world or our community after COVID-19?
“Greater support of individual needs within the context of a large community.”

For more information on City Art Centre, click here.

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Member Moments

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