🎶 Arts, H’Arts and Awareness đźŽ¶

Having recently merged with the Lookout Society, MDABC is proud to promote the 9th annual H’Arts for Homelessness fundraiser. The upcoming event celebrates diversity in the Arts with nine live artists, musicians, dancers, performers and more. The diversity of entertainment will take place at the beautiful Imperial venue on October 5th– making for a great evening for an even greater cause.

H'Arts for the Homeless

On the topic of diversity in the arts, this post is dedicated to art, artists and their capacity for self-exploration, community building and awareness building initiatives. As per the Canadian Art Therapy Association art and wellness go hand-in-hand, clinically known as Art Therapy and is defined below.

“Art therapy combines the creative process and psychotherapy, facilitating self-exploration and understanding. Using imagery, colour and shape as part of this creative therapeutic process, thoughts and feelings can be expressed that would otherwise be difficult to articulate.”

Art and Self: For some, verbal self-expression can be a real challenge. The combination of finding the right words to articulate emotions in addition to finding the right person to listen, could be perceived as unattainable for some. Art as a creative outlet has the capacity to remove those verbal obstacles and forge new opportunities for wellness.

As per the CMHA’s piece on Mental Health for Life, “Spiritual well-being means getting to know ourselves, discovering our values, and learning to be at peace with who we are. It also involves finding and connecting to something bigger than ourselves and living with purpose. Spirituality can give us meaning and solace, help us overcome challenges, and help us build connections with others.”

Art and Other Artists: Above and beyond self-exploration, sharing your art with artists can also prove beneficial to mental wellness. Through workshops and classes—such as those provided by Vancouver Recovery Through Art Society (VRTAS)—one can extend beyond the individual into a supportive and encouraging environment. This broader community creates a safe space for dialogue and appreciation of artworks.

The Art Studios is a safe, respectful and acceptinVRTASg community where people with major mental illnesses and addiction engage with rehabilitation staff to recover and grow through art. The Studios offers free classes and workshops on painting, ceramics, printmaking and more. Currently 278 active clients, who have been referred by their medical professionals, enjoy the structure, warmth and hope for the future that The Art Studios provides. Close to 4000 clients have been helped since its beginning in 1994. Well-known Canadian artist Gathie Falk has nothing but praise for VRTAS stating that:

“The Art Studios has helped many people with mental health illness and addictions to learn art skills, become more confident and develop new roles as artists, assistants, instructors, mentors, etc. I am very happy to endorse VRTAS (Vancouver Through Art Society) and The Art Studios it supports.”

Art, H’Arts and Awareness: Broadening an audience beyond yourself and fellow artists is an excellent way to promote awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health. Often inspired by personal experiences, artists are capable of providing deep insight into their backgrounds and as a result, raise awareness among individuals and communities.

This year’s H’Arts for the Homeless fundraiser on October 5th is an excellent example of using art to promote awareness. With nine live artists whose pieces will be auctioned to raise money for Lookout Society Foundation, this year’s theme is centered around the current opioid crisis and focusses on supporting and helping individuals in need.

In addition to painting, other art forms include musical performances, culinary delights, dancers and more. Together the performers, in conjunction with Lookout Society, aim to encourage meaningful dialogue, void of stigma and stereotypes, to raise money for a very worthy cause.

If you would like to join MDABC, Lookout Society and an incredible list of performers, purchase your tickets here and we’ll see you the evening of October 5th at the Imperial.

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