KAMLOOPS - For a young person exploring their identity in a complex society, or an individual facing poverty, homelessness, abuse, substance use, or mental illness, taking an art class may seem far out of reach.
But in fact, workshops in painting, drawing, photography, murals and more may be just the thing to help them along their journey.
The Kamloops Arts Council's Crossing Bridges Outreach takes arts workshops to children, youth and adults in our community who need them most. From June 3 to 10, participants will display their artwork to the public at the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre (7 Seymour St. West, Kamloops).
"A 14-year-old who's lived in 12 different foster homes may not have the language to express his anger and feelings of loss," says KAC Executive Director Kathy Sinclair. "A survivor of domestic abuse or brain injury may not be able to talk directly about what they've experienced. But provide paints, a canvas and a caring arts instructor, and suddenly a world can open."
Learning new artistic skills also builds self-esteem, provides a sense of mastery, and creates trust and positive peer connections for youth and adults.
"Every individual comes from a unique background, has a meaningful experience and story to share," says Caroline Dance, KAC Crossing Bridges Coordinator. "Art can be an empowering way for individuals to express themselves, strengthen their voice, connect with others and share their experience with the community -- and the more inclusive we are, the more voices we hear, the more enriched we are as a community."
The Art Changes Lives exhibit will include artwork by children, youth and adults from the following participant centres:
• Twin Rivers Education Centre
• Four Directions Storefront School
• AE Perry Elementary
• YWCA Women's Shelter
• Kamloops Immigrant Services
• New Life Community
• Phoenix Centre
• Osprey Place
• Canadian Mental Health Association Clubhouse
• Kamloops Brain Injury Association
All are welcome to attend the exhibit and an opening reception on Friday, June 3, 6 to 8 p.m. featuring live music, speaking and refreshments.
Started in 2013, the Kamloops Arts Council's Crossing Bridges Outreach is a collaboration among the arts community and social service agencies. Crossing Bridges helps participants express realities, fears, hopes and dreams, providing them with the chance to connect with others, build self-esteem and share their voice with the community.
The Crossing Bridges Arts Outreach is supported by the BC Arts Council, CFJC-TV Boogie the Bridge, City of Kamloops Social Planning, United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo, TELUS, the Stollery Charitable Foundation, and the Recreation Foundation of British Columbia. Participant centres provide workshop space, staff and in some cases, a registration fee.
What: Art Changes Lives: An exhibition by participants of the Kamloops Arts Council's Crossing Bridges Arts Outreach
When: June 3 to 10, 2016; opening reception Friday, June 3, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Old Courthouse Cultural Centre, Kamloops (7 Seymour St. W)
More info: www.kamloopsarts.ca