Maureen Weston

Taste the colour

The Only Creative Thinking Allowed Collective Society, held the seventh annual Colour Your Palate fundraising

Combining a passion for food and a passion for art, raised $15,000 for arts education.

The Only Creative Thinking Allowed Collective Society, held the seventh annual Colour Your Palate fundraising event April 15 at the University Club, raising proceeds for artsREACH, a program providing free fine art programs for public schools in Greater Victoria.

“It is a joy. I love seeing their faces. It is not an onerous thing to slip out of the paperwork of the office after school and see what they’re up to,” said Renee Pick, principal of Cloverdale Elementary. “It’s kind of fun and I love to see them in that other realm and excel. It’s just one other area that gives them the chance, I know from the families, they would never have had.”

The free programming has benefitted more than 18,000 children, with more than 1,100 workshops for schools including Cloverdale, sending professional artists to teach workshops in painting, printmaking, dance and theatre at no cost to the school or the children participating.

“Arts is such a huge part of this community. They now have a conduit to make sure that is happening in the classrooms,” Pick said. “How fun is that, to give that to the children?”

The fundraiser featured a silent auction and 11 restaurants and chefs, who were given a random colour and challenged to create a corresponding canapé. Each establishment volunteered their services and donated the food for the cause that drew approximately 300 people.

“I saw for myself first-hand, children that were inspired, used their imagination, developing creativity – all the skills we want them to have for building confidence later in life – were happening in the artsREACH workshops,” said society board president Maureen Weston. “Even children not normally engaged in other subjects. … The children that are most difficult behaviourally in other subjects in school, just love it.”

Pick, who attended the event for the first time along with a dozen other principals from participating schools, said she was impressed by both the creativity and generosity of the chefs and contributors to the event and has seen the positive benefits.

“It is bringing out a spark in (the children),” Pick said. “This is where I see our money at work, and it is worth every penny.”

For more information on artsREACH visit


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