Art Gems, as we celebrated their 10th Anniversary as one of Toronto’s premiere fundraiser art auctions at Berkeley Church Toronto event venue. Art Gems art auction brings together original artwork from celebrity and professional artists to raise funds to support Creative Works Studio, a leading and comprehensive art and occupational therapy-based mental health program.
“Creative Works Studio provides a fully-equipped, safe and accepting community–based arts studio for people living with severe and persistent mental illness and/or addictions. All members are encouraged to reach their highest potential through art projects and workshops. As a result, their general life skills and ability to cope in the larger community also improve. The healing process is based on integration of principles of occupational therapy, mental health care, visual arts and vocational counseling. We support our members on their journey to self-expression through art, greater self-esteem, improved confidence and eventually increased participation within the larger community. ” http://creativeworks-studio.ca/site/about/
The live auction portion of the evening typically includes ‘gems’ that are 18” x 18” in size, Art Gems featured 10 larger works in recognition of this momentous year.
” Held on April 26 at the Berkeley Church, the silent auction portion featured pieces from celebrities, including Rick Mercer, Cmdr. Chris Hadfield, Colin Mochrie, Gillian Deacon, Jayne Eastwood, Plum Johnson, Virginian Johnson, Joe Mimran, Kimberly Newport-Mimran and Sarah Rafferty. Some Creative Works Studio members also created unique, commissioned pieces.” http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/media/detail.php?source=hospital_news/2016/0427a
The guest speaker for the event was Michael Landsberg, TSN Broadcaster and Bell Let’s Talk Ambassador. Michael Landsberg shared his experience with depression and anxiety. ” I am on medication I will be on medication the rest for the rest of my life. I have fallen deep into the whole of depression so badly that I thought if I can’t get better I can’t go on so I know what it is like. I had the blessing of a studio like yours but that studio was my family and that allowed me a place to be myself and to act exactly how I wanted to act and not exactly how I felt others wanted me to act. So I think the single worst thing that happened in my life was having been hit by depression and the single best thing that has happened to me in my life was that I was hit by depression because I am standing here tonight and I get to talk to all of you. ”
” Anything that will help others find their way back into the light is gold and every charity is important every initiative is important. But this for me is live saving you will change lives by being here tonight. You will change lives by bidding.” Michael Landsberg
“The Creative Works Studio receives clients from mental health agencies across Toronto,” said Isabel Fryszberg, creative lead for the studio. “Each year, members visit the studio more than 2,500 times as they strive to make a comfortable return to active life in the larger community. Donations account for more than half of the studio’s funding and Art Gems is instrumental in allowing the Creative Works Studio to flourish and grow.” http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/media/detail.php?source=hospital_news/2016/0427a
The Mezzanine level of the Berkeley Church was added in this year to expand the art auction and its ever growing audience.
“This was Art Gems’ most successful year,” said Judy Allen, director of Art Gems. “We exceeded our goal by $20,000 and raised a net amount of $185,000 for St. Michael’s Hospital’s Creative Works Studio. In fact, since 2007, Art Gems has raised more than $1 million for this life-changing mental health outreach program in downtown Toronto.” http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/media/detail.php?source=hospital_news/2016/0427a
Photographer Paul McNulty