“Art gives people a way to express themselves and get their feelings out. That is such a gift.”
For many individuals who experience mental health challenges, art provides a much needed outlet. And for the past decade, ArtMakers Place has been providing a welcoming and inclusive space where Wyandot BHN consumers can continue their recovery journey through artistic expression.
Tiffane Friesen, program coordinator at ArtMakers Place, says she loves watching people grow and make meaningful connections at ArtMakers.
“Sometimes because of the stigma around mental health, our consumers are told that they can’t do something,” says Friesen. “When they come to ArtMakers, I love watching their creative journey and how that boosts their self-esteem. And when they see their art on display in community spaces, that helps to counter that stigma.”
Each year, more than 300 children and adults come to ArtMakers to find healing and continue their recovery journey. ArtMakers works with diverse communities that are often overlooked, offering programming designed to reach immigrant communities, the LGBTQIA+ community and other individuals and groups who are often underrepresented in the community.
While ArtMakers does not replace more traditional mental health treatment, it does enhance those efforts and engages consumers in a new way. ArtMakers provides a non-clinical space where people can make messes and share a part of themselves that cannot always be put into words. The process of creating art, whether working individually or as part of a group, can help to break down barriers and foster a sense of belonging.
“Our facilitator’s persistence and tenacity, with the combined belief in individual creativity, has resulted in drawing consumers out of their inner shells into a new world of possibilities,” says Jan Kobe, Peer Support Specialist. “ArtMakers is a place of acceptance and healing for all who enter our doors.”