Brush strokes of hope

Society struggles to continue offering all-inclusive studio space

Victoria resident Devorah Stone puts the finishing touches on her painting

Devorah Stone picks up a paint brush, eyes her colourful painting propped up on an easel and dabs on a splash of colour.

“It’s called The Beat Goes On,” she says proudly, taking a step back to admire her handiwork: a large human heart painted in several shades of red, among other colours.

For the past two years the Victoria resident has been a regular fixture at the Pandora Arts Collective Society’s open studio sessions held two afternoons a week in Fernwood.

Each week, between 10 and 20 artists drop by the studio, provided rent-free by the Fernwood Community Association. There, they use free supplies to create paintings, sculptures, sketches and mixed-media works.

The space has served as a lifeline for people, some of whom have physical disabilities or mental health conditions.

But now the society’s future is in jeopardy and it may have to be closed. What little funds the group had have been tapped out.

“We don’t have any sort of steady anything. It’s all private donations,” says Stone, volunteer board vice-president. “We have been living grant to grant.”

The non-profit society needs $1,000 to cover its expenses this month, prompting board members to issue an urgent plea for help. The hope is that 12 people will each donate $1,000 a month for the next three years. Already three donors have stepped forward.

Members pay $10 a month or $2 per drop-in session. Many aren’t able to pay but are welcomed at the studio, regardless.

“We don’t want money to be a barrier,” Stone says.

“The reason that Pandora (Arts) is so great is that it’s for people who can’t afford to take lessons and they can’t afford the materials and supplies, and they can come there and paint,” says society board member Stephanie Taggart.

The initiative began in 2004 as an art therapy program that was funded by the Vancouver Island Health Authority and located on Pandora Avenue. After its funding was cut, several dedicated people worked to keep it going and eventually set up shop in Fernwood.

The act of creating is therapeutic for many, says Clive Beal, society director.

“We’re keeping people out of emergency services.”

The amateur artists treasure the encouragement, support and sense of community they receive at the all-inclusive space.

“It’s kind of a healing process for them to come and paint,” says Taggart, who has been coming to the studio for three years.

Stone, a self-described extrovert, says she felt isolated before attending the open art sessions.

“It’s given me an outlet, my confidence back, friends and a sense of purpose. It’s really been a major part of my life,” she says. “It gives a lot of people a place to go.”

How to help

To make a monetary or in-kind donation to the Pandora Arts Collective Society or  volunteer or participate in the open studio sessions, please call 250-920-7227 and leave a message, or visit www.pandoraarts.ca. Studio sessions happen Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1923 Fernwood Rd. from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

 

 

Just Posted

Canadian students are smart cookies

Canadian teachers also among highest paid in the developed world

Local fundraising initiative addresses tampon recall

Period Posse checking donations during 10-day campaign

Langford light up celebration was the biggest one yet

The city spends about $25,000 annually on Christmas lights

Victoria Literacy Connection needs volunteers for new Reading Partner program

The program will be in five Greater Victoria elementary schools

Inspired by her kindergartners, Oak Bay teacher organizes fundraiser

Sally Hallam’s class is creating calendars to help plant trees

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘Ghost bikes’ installed to remember teen cyclists who died in Port Alberni

Cycle Alberni installs memorials to remember teens, remind all about road safety

Most Read