A picture of hope and resilience

When it first started in 2006, event founder Theresa Claxton had no idea that the hospital's Mental Health Art & Craft Show would continue on for the next 12 years, becoming an annual highlight for many staff, physicians and volunteers as well as patients and families. The event, which features the creative spirit of people living with and recovering from a mental illness and/or addiction, has steadily grown in popularity over the years.

“When we first started, I thought an art show would be a fun way for people to express themselves while also bringing awareness to mental health issues and services,” says Theresa, who sits on the NYGH Participants' Council, the main organizer of the event. “In the first year, we only had about 8 artists but momentum grew and we now have 30 participants who showcase some of the most extraordinary work. I believe events such as these help reduce stigma by promoting awareness and celebrating talent.”

This year's Mental Health Art & Craft Show will be held in on Thursday,November 29from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Nanji Academic Centre at the General site (4001 Leslie Street). The show will feature a wide range of paintings, photography, jewellery and crafts at different price points and is open to community members, patients and families as well as staff, physicians and volunteers.

“It's wonderful to walk around and see how art is used to explore emotions such as hope and resistance,” Theresa says. “It's inspiring on all fronts.”

Artist Patricia Sparks, also a member of the Participants' Council, says that she looks forward not only to showcasing her work, but also the social side of the event. Patricia, who also volunteers as a facilitator in a weekly NYGH art drop-in class, says art has been an important component of her self-care as well as a great way to connect with others.
Patricia Sparks showcases her art at NYGH's Mental Health Art & Craft Show.
Patricia Sparks and one of her creations she will be selling– a watercolour greeting card. Plan to attend the Mental Health Art & Craft Show Thursday,November 29from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in NYGH's Nanji Academic Centre on the ground floor.
“I find it very therapeutic to create art,” says Patricia. “At the same time, I enjoy the social aspect of the drop-in sessions and the art show. I am able to see other people's work and discuss the motivation behind the art. We have similar reasons to being drawn to the creative. When you are able to express yourself creatively, your mood lifts and it relaxes you. It's a wonderful thing.”
November 7, 2018

This article first appeared in the November 2018 issue of The Pulse, North York General Hospital's community newsletter. Subscribe to receive 10 issues per year.

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