Vancouver art-therapy program for mental-health recovery finds new operator

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      A unique Vancouver art program that helps people with mental-health challenges has found a new operator that will ensure its continuation into the future.  

      Located at 2005 East 44th Avenue, Recovery Through Art Society’s The Art Studios, which began in 1994, is a psycho-social rehabilitation program devoted to mental-health recovery by offering free classes for drawing, painting, pottery, print-making, and mixed media to clients facing mental-health and substance-use challenges.

      It has served almost 4,000 clients and Vancouver artists Gathie Falk and Val Nelson have endorsed, supported, or donated to the program.

      The current operational structure of the Art Studios, which includes donor funding from Vancouver General Hospital and the UBC Hospital Foundation, will continue until March 31, 2021.

      In September, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), which has supported and funded the program for 15 years, opened a call for proposals for a community-based non-profit organization to take over program management.  

      Vancouver Coastal Health announced on January 16 that Lookout Housing and Health Society has been chosen.  

      “The creative process is extremely healing for individuals living with mental health, substance use, trauma, and extreme poverty,” Lookout Society CEO Shayne Williams stated in a news release. “Art provides an opportunity for individuals to explore their own story, opening a path to improved self-esteem and wellness.”

      VCH added that the classes can help to improve confidence, direction, and self-worth, and participants can go on to become mentors or teachers in the program.

      Lookout Housing and Health Society has provided housing and health services to marginalized communities in Vancouver and B.C. since 1971.

      Recovery Through Art Society stated on its website that changes at the studio will begin in February, with updates posted to its website.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook