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  • HUB @ 302

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists invites all juried members, associate and non-members to..
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  • Open Call for 2020 exhibitions

    Location: Vernon, BC

    We are an artist run gallery seeking submissions from emerging artists for our..
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  • Beacon Original Art Fall Show & Sale

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Saturday October 19, 2019 from 10am - 4pm. Featuring more than 30 artists..
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  • Open Call:

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    The Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) is having an open exhibition for members..
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  • Open Call: All 10

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Calling all Canadian Artists! This is an open submission call for a lightly..
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  • Earth

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists invites all Juried, Life, Student, Associate Members and..
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  • Reza Rezaï / Mehmoon

    Location: Calgary, AB

    TRUCK Contemporary Art is pleased to present Mehmoon by Reza Rezaï. Through the..
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  • Outside, In

    Location: Lethbridge, AB

    Opening reception September 28th 7-9pm for the Allied Art Council's Gallery Stroll! OUTSIDE,..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2019 Fall Online International Exhibition

    Location: Windsor, ON

    The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites oil and acrylic painters..
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  • “Motion” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline October 31, 2019

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Moving or being moved. Shifting, stirring, changing places. The rise and..
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  • Beaver Sheppard: Solo Exhibition

    Location: Montreal, QC

    Archive Contemporary presents a comprehensive solo exhibition of Beaver Sheppard’s artistic canon, for..
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  • ANCESTRAL MINDSCAPES

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Ancestral Mindscapes is an autobiographical collaboration using video, sound and photography to explore..
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  • Clay Tile Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Participants will be working with clay to hand-build tiles using a variety of..
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  • Edible and Medicinal Gardening Lecture

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Ukrainian settlers brought with them a wide range of traditional knowledge and practices,..
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  • Acrylic Painting for Beginners

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Do you want to create a bright & beautiful acrylic landscape in one..
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  • Willow Heart Weaving Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Willow Heart Weaving Workshop In this workshop, participants will learn how to trim and..
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  • New Craft Coalition: Call to Artists

    Location: Calgary, AB

    New Craft Coalition, invites applications from all mid-career and professional artists to be..
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  • Invisible by PAINTER8

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Please join us at PAINTER8, and other Edmonton art lovers alike, for the..
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  • 19th Annual Stouffville Studio Tour

    Location: Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

    The 19th Annual Stouffville Studio Tour is an event you don’t want to..
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  • Wheat Centrepiece Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Join this class to learn how to make a didukh-style centrepiece that can..
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  • Radio Silence

    Location: Quebec city, QC

    Québec, August 19, 2019 – Folie/Culture invites all those who express themselves through..
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  • LOOK AGAIN!

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    LOOK AGAIN! PAINTINGS BY KATHLEEN SLAVIN AND GAIL PRPICK AT UNIVERSITY..
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  • Watercolour Workshop with Frank Townsley

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Sunday 22nd September 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM ..
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  • Figureworks 2019

    Location: Ottawa, ON

    Figureworks 2019 Call for Artists The call for submissions to the 10th annual juried..
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  • Quasi-Nature

    Location: Montreal, QC

    Archive Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present Quasi-Nature, a group exhibition curated..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2019 Fall Online International Exhibition

    Location: Windsor, ON

    The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites oil and acrylic painters..
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  • Unsettling Nature

    Location: Toronto, ON

    An Exhibition at: The Garage Gallery Benmiller with Artists Jill Price, Leslie Putnam, Morag Webster..
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  • Through the Eyes of a Child

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    Artists Statement: Ed Flanagan My wife had a career as an elementary school..
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  • Exposition solo Lac-Mégantic

    Location: Lac-Mégantic, QC

    L'eau, une mine d'Art du 8 juillet au 8 septembre 2019..
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  • Sustainable Fashion Designer Looking for Studio Space in Mississauga

    Location: Mississauga, ON

    Hi, I'm Amanda, I am an emerging fashion designer starting my business designing..
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  • 32 Points- 32 Voices: A Compass of Peace

    Location: Toronto, ON

    32 Points - 32 Voices: A Compass of Peace International Exhibition September 6-27, 2019 Cedar Ridge..
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Art Therapy

By Robert Amos March 29, 2004

} Art Therapy By Robert Amos My neighbour works at a care home, a long term care residence for seniors and others. He asked if I would consider meeting with some of the residents to do some painting. As I walked there on that first day, I really wondered what I could teach them. What were they capable of learning, and why would they want to learn? About eight people, all in wheelchairs, were waiting at a long table in the activity room when I arrived. That first day I suggested painting a planter of petunias which was visible just outside the window. I demonstrated as well as I could with what was on hand, a few chalky pots of paint and a stiff brush. And then I let them go at it. It looked as if it was going to be an uphill struggle. Simple practical issues had to be considered. It’s hard to bend over a table when sitting in a bulky motorized wheelchair. No one much liked looking into the bright daylight outside the window. Old eyes couldn’t see those distant flowers as easily as mine could. Still, everyone set to the task. In the end two or three had made pictures of the petunias - more by copying my painting than looking at the flowers themselves. Some of the painters could hardly hit the page with the brush. But the experience was positive enough to draw me back a week later. One of the women, constantly attended, had spent almost two hours, and she had made one short vertical mark on her page. Later I asked my neighbour whether it seemed worthwhile for her to be there. “A breakthrough,” he called it. “There’s a very intelligent woman in there, trapped in a cage of pain,” he informed me. Victim of a head injury, she had found this tiny opening of self-expression, an opening he hoped she would build on. “Seigfried” by E. K. Another of the regulars had a reputation as a painter, and proudly carried photos of the watercolours she had made years before. I couldn’t see the resemblance in the network of coloured hatching she cast out during our afternoons. And I wondered what use I was, since she never attempted the subjects I set for our group. But her absorption in her task was intense, and her identity as an artist was surely an anchor of confidence in a life which was changing on her every day. As months went by I began to recognize that what appeared at first to be random and disconnected lines were in fact a style - her style. One of the oldest men pointed out that he’d never painted. He sat where he was put and bent his head over his task. No well-meaning advice broke in on his labour and, in the end, a staff member asked what he had painted. “It’s a cat! And kittens!”, he snorted. And sure enough, it was. On my way out that day, that staff member couldn’t hold back her surprise. “He’s never spent 10 minutes at any activity here. He just won’t put up with it. And yet he just spent almost two hours painting.” Artists know how deeply satisfying it is to get lost in the task. Time vanishes. My neighbour went further. “Many of these people,” he told me, “have short term memory problems. The last time they painted might have been when they were in kindergarten. They can remember things that happened back then, and they still know how to do them. It makes them feel in control.” Actually, there was more control than I at first recognized. One man, about my age, had real problems - his muscles were rendered graceless and his speech was almost unintelligible. But he was patient with me, and slowly our communication became more satisfactory. I learned to put the paints more comfortably within his reach and to allow him to spend longer letting his ideas develop. The results are there for all to see - there is a good mind and heart just waiting to express itself. I tend to forget that these people are disabled. I guess they can’t walk, and may have medical problems that I know nothing about. But, by now, getting together with my group every week is more like a family gathering than almost anything else in my life. We’ve decided to frame some pictures for the halls, and with this goal in sight the paintings are becoming more considered and more finished. Inevitably, each artist is caught behind a heap of genuine humility. But the reaction of visitors is always sincere and positive - they are genuinely impressed. After all, art is more about communication than technique, and all forms of self-expression are acceptable. And any subject is welcome. I am most gratified when my band of associates reach into memory and draw forth scenes from childhood, and moments of joy from their own lives. More in the style of Grandma Moses than photo-realism, their paintings are evidence of the common humanity which we all share. Maybe those who have known a bit of suffering can feel that, and share it, most vividly. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004 Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B. C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com