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Art for All – Art Centres Throughout Canada

August 01, 2014

Disability-Tax-Credit-for-Children-Under-18Are you aware of the many therapeutic benefits of art?

The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as a “…mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.”

All people, regardless of their age, heritage, physical abilities or mental capacities are able to reap these benefits and more from engaging in art projects.

In addition, participating in artistic activities combats one of the gravest problems people with disabilities face: isolation. Art is often done in social environments. It is common for those who are interested in similar art forms to create and discuss art together.

Whether alone or with a community of like-minded art enthusiasts, the act of doing art is therapeutic.

For this reason, many art centres and “hangouts” exist throughout Canada. Better yet, a number of these establishments intend to serve people with developmental disabilities.

Recently, two art communities came to National Benefit Authority’s attention. We’d like to take this opportunity to share what we know about these art collectives, as well as ask you to share of any art therapy programs that exist near you. Please leave your response in the comment section at the bottom of this page.

Nova Scotia, Canada – SCRI Society: The Club

The acronym SCRI stands for “Social, Cultural, Recreational Inclusion for all.” Thanks to an article at, SCRI Society was brought to our attention. Some members of this society participated in a festival in Dartmouth, where the artwork of people with disabilities was celebrated last week. The club was especially excited about the dance portion of the festival, in addition to the photography, painting and poetry presentations.

SCRI Society began seven years ago. Before recognizing a love for arts, parents in Halifax noticed that their children needed more opportunities to engage in the community. From this desire, the club, which has a membership of 160 children, teens and young adults, was born. Today, this group operates like a “hangout,” open six days a week. When members show up, they are welcomed to engage in artistic programs, as well as lunch or dinner.

Enjoy a tour of SCRI Society, compliments of their website:

Click here: Take a tour of SCRI Society Drop In Club.

Alberta, Canada – The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts

A few years before SCRI Society formed, The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts was established in the city of Edmonton. At first, the project, funded by SKILLS society, rented and renovated a small space with intentions of inviting people to make art. Before long, many adults who live with developmental disabilities were visiting the centre.

Thanks to its overwhelming success and community support, The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts moved into its own building.

Much has changed for this art centre throughout the years, but its mission has remained constant.

The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts exists to provide a supportive place where people with developmental disabilities can become practicing artists.

The Nina Haggerty Centre is a thriving example of what art activities can do for a community. Art brings people together in an inclusive and impactful way.

Anybody can become an artist. More so, at places like The Nina Haggerty Centre and SCRI Society, anybody can feel a sense of belonging.

Are there artist hangouts and drop-in centres where you live? Do you attend an artist collective? What are the benefits you reap from doing art? If you haven’t tried an art centre, would you consider going to one? What types of art projects excite you most?

In today’s world, there are numerous methods of art and many of them are accessible to people of all ability levels. Take advantage of the talent you have and the resources that are around you. Jump into an art project and create something all your own. It may benefit you more than you know.



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