Artists and guests mingle during the opening reception for One Foot by One Foot. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

Art collaboration raises funds for mental health in Chilliwack, Abbotsford

More than $2,000 raised in support of mental health services offered in Chilliwack and Abbotsford

A fundraiser earlier this year in Chilliwack brought in more than $2,000 for two organizations in Chilliwack and Abbotsford in support of mental health services.

The two-in-one art show featuring One Foot By One Foot and Hear and See: Poetry and Art for Mental Health ran December and January at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre and brought in funds for both Chilliwack Community Services and Communitas Supportive Care Society in Abbotsford.

Hear and See: Poetry and Art for Mental Health, paired 14 poets with 14 artists with each poet writing a poem about their experiences with mental illness and an artist then interpreting that poem visually. The exhibit was presented by Communitas and the Chilliwack Visual Artists Association (CVAA).

“The purpose of the exhibit was to give poets and artists a voice and thereby removing the stigma that is so often associated with mental health challenges,” says Angelika Dawson, communications manager for Communitas and one of the curators of the exhibit.

In addition to this art exhibit, the CVAA held a fundraiser art exhibition to support mental health services. One Foot By One Foot was a series of one-foot-square canvases, painted by CVAA and community artists. These paintings were available for sale throughout the Hear and See exhibit as a “pay and take away.”

READ MORE: Chilliwack Visual Artists Association raises funds for mental health with art show

“This was the first time the CVAA had organized such an event and it was a good learning experience for us,” says Mary-Lee Merz, a member of the CVAA executive. “We didn’t know how it would unfold but I would say it was a success.”

The fundraiser, together with the exhibit itself, connected the community to the gallery, bringing people in who may have never been there before. For both Dawson and Merz, a highlight of the exhibit was the Poetry Reading and Artist Talk, held near the end of the exhibit’s run at the gallery.

“The event gave people a safe place to talk about their creative process,” Merz says. “It was powerful because people shared their struggles and vulnerabilities, which was the source of their creativity. It was an example of the healing aspects of creativity.”

Dawson agrees. “Hearing about the creative process behind the work and the stories that connected the poets and artists was deeply moving.”

Proceeds from the fundraiser supported mental health services offered by Chilliwack Community Services as well as Communitas raising over $1000 for each organization.

”Community funds raised by community members have impact far beyond the value of the dollars raised. These financial gifts help us build new awareness and support from the community,” says Karyn Santiago, CEO for Communitas. “We are deeply grateful for the work of CVAA and their commitment to furthering the conversation around mental wellness in Chilliwack.”

The success of the fundraiser was energizing and the CVAA hopes to have opportunity to do something like this in the future.

“I just want to thank Communitas again for bringing a new level of artistic expression to the O’Connor Group Art Gallery,” Merz says. “I believe all who participated benefited from this joint endeavor. I believe we would like to do this again in the future.”

For more information about this exhibit and the next exhibit planned by Communitas, visit CommunitasCare.com. To learn more about CVAA, visit oconnorgroupartgallery.com.

Just Posted

Stolen stamp collection has been returned to owners in Abbotsford

Good Samaritan found the stamps hidden away in some bushes and turned them over to police

Police find loaded rifle in car of ‘prolific offender’ prohibited from driving

Tyler Houle of Abbotsford arrested Wednesday in Chilliwack

Man wants guilty plea revoked in 2012 collision in Abbotsford that killed Chilliwack woman

Michael Larocque was charged in relation to crash that killed Eileen Kleinfelder

Trial slated to start Monday for accused killer of Abbotsford cop

Oscar Arfmann faces first-degree murder for death of Const. John Davidson

George Ferguson Way apartment building goes to public hearing Monday

Bike lockers signal shift in Abbotsford developers’ thinking, Banman says

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Burnaby facility to dispose of 1,500 tonnes of Canada’s trash from Philippines

All 103 containers will be disposed of properly within Canada before the end of the summer

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

High-risk sex offender released into Surrey

Earon Wayne Giles, a Newton “tag-team rapist,” was released from prison Friday and is now living in Surrey

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

UPDATE: Vancouver man dies after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

Police believe speed was a factor in Thursday collision

Body found after fire at Surrey homeless camp, police say

Surrey RCMP say the body was found inside a shed after firefighters extinguished the fire

RCMP probe hit-and-run of Richmond senior

The man, who is in his mid-70s, was walking with his wife when he was allegedly struck

Most Read