This past Thursday, November 16th, The ARTSPEAKS Project hosted the opening of its mixed media art exhibit, “Re-Purposing Trauma,” at the Ideal Art Space (724 Queen Street E.). Local MPP, Ross Romano, and OTF Grant Review Team member, Connie Witty, were present to witness the culmination of the works created during the Project’s first year of arts-based-learning and to hear more about the Project’s positive impact on the community and project participants.
“This community is in great need of programs and services that focus on mental health issues,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “The ARTSPEAKS goal of empowering individuals through the artistic process to find methods of self-expression and healing is an extraordinary one. I am grateful we were able to secure the funding through the Ontario Trillium Foundation. I also thank the community partners for recognizing the importance of this initiative and supporting it, and I commend the mentors for their dedication to people in need.”
The ARTSPEAKS Project’s programming encourages all its participants, with or without art-making experience, to utilize art making as a means of creative problem solving in the service of fostering resiliency. Participants take part in workshops built on the basics of art, design and narrative processes while working in small groups alongside professional artists in a functional artists’ studio. And thanks to the $75,000 Seed grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, participants are learning through cultural mentorship and guidance, which can unlock the potential for their own artistic practice.
“We are deeply grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their generous support of the ARTSPEAKS Project,” said Maria Parrella-Ilaria, Project Coordinator of The ARTSPEAKS Project. “With Nov.16th’s opening of our month-long exhibit ‘Re-Purposing Trauma’; we are celebrating the courage and tenacity of our project participants, the support of our community partners and honouring OTF’s trust in our vision of nurturing resiliency via cultural mentorship and arts-based skills development.”
The ARTSPEAKS Project is dedicated to offering women impacted by sexual violence, addictions and mental health challenges, a ‘safe space’ to collaborate with local professional artists in the service of cultural mentorship, fostering resiliency through arts-based skill-building towards the creation of personally meaningful works. For more information please visit the website at: www.theartspeaksproject.org
An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities. www.otf.ca