The Government of British Columbia has set a vision to become the most progressive and accessible place for people with disabilities in Canada by 2024.
An important part of achieving that vision is collaborating with, and recognizing, community partners and organizations, like the Ladysmith Waterfront Art Gallery, that are committed to making a difference in the lives of people with developmental disabilities.
When the Arts Council of Ladysmith & District opened the doors of the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery in 2006, it became the most comprehensive visual arts organization in the community.
In 2013, the gallery started a unique class for adults with developmental disabilities called Artrageous Splash.
“The social inclusion and sense of pride felt by each student when they complete a project in our class is evident by the smiles on each of their faces when they walk out our door,” said Gail Ralphs, class instructor and vice-president of the Arts Council of Ladysmith & District.
The class – which was named by the artists – focuses on bringing out the individual thoughts and ideas of each artist to support their personal and emotional growth, and preparing them for interactions within the local business community. Participants take part in painting exercises as well as individual and group projects, such as painting murals and furniture.
Class participants also take part in a student exhibition every April where they show and sell their creations. One hundred per cent of all sales are kept by the artist.
The gallery’s goal is to inspire each participant to explore new ideas and put those ideas into action.
When Mark first started the class in 2014, he would only paint in black. Now, Mark loves using colour in his pieces and even sells some of his work which has made him realize – people really do like colour! Not only have Mark’s artistic choices grown over the years, so have his relationships with his peers and his confidence.
The Ladysmith Waterfront Art Gallery is supported by Community Links Connexions (CLCX), an employment training and community support service funded by Community Living BC. CLCX’s training and services assist adults with developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential, find meaningful employment and increase their involvement in the community.
“The experience of making art with others provides an opportunity to build relationships, develop a sense of belonging, and strengthen the social fabric of the community. The participants learn valuable skills through the Artrageous Splash class and are recognized as diverse individuals who are respected for the contribution they make to the community of Ladysmith in their various places of employment including Pharmasave, In The Beantime Cafe, Home Hardware, and the 49th Parallel Grocery Store bakery,” said Tina Fabbro, program co-ordinator at Community Links Connexions.
To learn more about the Ladysmith Waterfront Art Gallery and the Arts Council of Ladysmith & District, visit: http://www.ladysmithwaterfrontgallery.com/
To learn more about Accessibility 2024, visit: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/accessibility/accessibility-2024
To learn more about Community Links Connexions, visit: http://www.clcx.ca
To learn more about Community Living BC, visit: http://www.communitylivingbc.ca/