More than 100 artworks of flowers will adorn the Anvil Centre walls this week. The floral-themed spring show is being put up by artists from My Artist's Corner (MAC) — a group of creatives who live with mental health issues.
All 18 artists in the group are members of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s ECHO Clubhouse in Burnaby or New Leaf Clubhouse in New West — places providing a safe and inclusive environment for those with mental illness.
The members meet twice a week between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the ECHO Clubhouse (7355 Canada Way) for guided painting sessions offered either by Fabiola Vizcardo, art educator and program coordinator at My Artist’s Corner, or instructors from outside the organization.
Now in its 15th year, My Artist’s Corner was founded as a space for artists with mental health issues to create art and make a living out of it, said Vizcardo. Though conceptualized as a one-year project initially, the program has been going steady ever since — offering art classes, art history sessions and open studio opportunities to its members.
So far, the group has presented more than 20 shows in New West and Burnaby, and supports between 25 and 40 artists annually.
The community group helps members build meaningful lives by creating and maintaining a culture of belonging and recovery, said Vizcardo.
“Art is a way to express our emotions, our thinking. Many of our artists say that art is very therapeutic for them,” she said.
In their annual satisfaction survey, every MAC artist attested to the benefits of art for mental wellness — saying the sessions brought in a sense of calmness, purpose, hope, wellness and reduced isolation, added Vizcardo.
“Art opens doors we thought were closed; it brings us joy, it brings us reflection and it brings all kinds of emotions into our lives. Art gives us hope and relief.”
About 14 artists from MAC will each be displaying around 10 works at the one-day show that celebrates “life and joy of spring.”
“After months of hard work, we want to share with you the fruit of that effort, dedication, and intimate creative exploration; hoping that comforting emotions blossom in you as they did in us,” said Vizcardo.
The show will be held on Saturday, May 13, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia St. Entry is free for all. If you would like to volunteer at the event, write to Vizcardo at email@example.com. The price of the art pieces range from $30 to $200.