Welcome to Art Healing and Art Inclusion with Andie!
I have discovered through both my own art practice and by closely observing and encouraging others' creativity, the incredible healing power and transcendence that occurs when one is absorb in creation. The idea that art making can be a form of therapy is very old and is said to be one of the most ancient forms of healing. Visual arts (painting, drawing and sculpture) are powerful and effective forms of communication that allow us to express in ways that words simply can not. The arts provide insight into the way many view the world.
The arts have always provided a lens for cultural investigation that offer powerful and long-lasting results. People with intellectual and/or physical disabilities have significant stories to tell with the power to shift our perspectives on life, they reveal much of our nature as human beings: its diversity, complexity, and universality. However, these individuals are typically excluded from participation due to public attitudes and misconceptions surrounding art and disability. These stigmatizing and reductive assumptions can be disrupted, particularly through art as an anti-normative media of expression. When people of diverse abilities are supported, encouraged, and given the means to create—whether independently or through the exchange of ideas—we see new aesthetics, perspectives, social critiques, and personal transformation take place. When approached with ethical, unbiased, and equal-opportunity intentions, collaborative works between artists of different abilities depicts a leveled, unification that is not reflected elsewhere in society.
What does Andie provide?
- I believe strongly in my ability to create a loving, accepting environment where people feel comfortable to explore vulnerabilities and express themselves freely
- I encourage of all levels of participation and respect that the choice to participate is ultimately the individuals.
- I have a strong intuition of individual needs and aspirations, understanding the level of encouragement that is required from person to person, never being forceful and always following this encouragement with love, positivity, openness and warmth.
"The visual arts - drawing, painting, and sculpture - are powerful and effective forms of communication that have been used to convey humanity's collective history, ideas, feelings, dreams, and aspirations. Art has always been used to chronicle and portray a wide range of emotions and experiences, from profound joy to the deepest sorrow, from triumph to trauma. Since our earliest recorded history, art has also served as means of reparation, rehabilitation, and transformation and has been used to restore physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being." -- Cathy A. Malchiodi, ATR, LPCC
“During illness it’s sometimes hard to articulate ourselves, the different types of thoughts and feelings that we’re trying to process, we don’t always have words for them and the arts have this beautiful, universal appeal due to it’s ability to transcend the limits of language,” said Marlessa Wesolowski, artist in residence at St. Paul's Hospital
Saskatchewan Alternative Initiatives Art Studio:
I am employed by Saskatchewan Alternative Initiatives (SAI), an organization that serves individuals with intellectual and/or physical disabilities. We offer vocational and home support opportunities, working closely with those who employ our services. In January of 2016 I initiated an outlet for 8-10 individuals, who utilize the support offered by SAI, to express themselves creatively. Many participants do not have the means or have not been given an opportunity to create art—let alone consider themselves artists at large. My intention with this program has never been to teach art classes but rather to encourage individual engagements with creative arts and practices. Individuals are encouraged to create whatever suits them, something that belongs to only them, and are provided with the means to tell their story from their own perspective on their own terms. By working in a non-competitive, safe, and loving environment these artists come closer to greater personal achievements, develop stronger self-esteem and self-efficacy, and feel a social valuation of their uniqueness in body and mind. They feel seen, heard, and are given the authority to create their own artistic space to emerge as creators.