The Bateman Foundation hopes to harness the healing power of creativity with a series of free therapeutic art sessions.
Materials are provided for the free drop-in sessions, and an on-site art therapist will be available for assistance or mental wellness insight.
“It’s learning about art and nature and using those as tools for wellness,” says Lauren Ball, spokesperson for the Bateman Foundation. “We (wanted) to help people to feel a bit more powerful in their daily lives.”
In the summer of 2020 the foundation launched the Wellness Project, adapting its annual Nature Sketch program for the pandemic and providing it free of charge to small groups in the community.
The new drop-in therapeutic art sessions are an extension of that program, says Bell, and a direct response to the effects of the ongoing pandemic.
“Knowing that anxiety and depression are on the rise on this mass scale because of social isolation, we wanted to help in some way,” she said.
“It’s not about being a really great artist, it’s not necessarily about the final result of what you create, it’s about tapping into the creative potential and creative energy that exists within all of us, and using that to find some sense of joy, some sense of peace.”
Art therapist Kaitlin McManus will be on site to help participants who want to discover meaning in their artwork while they are creating.
All ages and experience level are welcome. Four people can participate simultaneously for 30 minutes each, unless there is no one waiting to join, in which case artists can stay longer.
Sessions run twice a week at the Bateman Gallery at 300-470 Belleville St. on Tuesday evenings from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Appointments are not necessary.