Among the many programs offered by Victoria’s Our Place to the city’s most vulnerable citizens is The Art Program.
Staff at the inner city street shelter say art is an important part of the healing process for many who struggle with life on the street.
Now, the Art programs are about to get a financial boost – from other artists, of all ages and skill levels.
Five year old Maia is focused on one of her favorite things, drawing a picture. And when her mom Jacquie Beasse heard about a colouring contest…
“I said to Maia, ‘you should enter a drawing!’
“She’s been drawing a lot lately, and she said, ‘But mom, I’m not an artist, I’m just a kid!’ ”
The contest Beasse was talking about, is to do with the latest rage in art.
“Colouring books are so popular right now for adults.” says Island Blue’s Art Store General Manager, Merle Duffus.
“And with our printing division, we just thought, and the artists have, our customers, we just thought it would be a great combination to put something together.”
That something is Colour Vancouver Island, a collection of fourty sketches, chosen from dozens submitted to island blue’s contest.
“There were images from artists as young as five like Maia” explains Duffus “to professionals…and everything in between…so we had lots to choose from, so it was very difficult…”
Young Maia explains what her picture is about.
“I drew two whales, a mum and her baby, and waves all around them.”
Maia’s inspiration came from one of her favorite books.
“I came up with it because I have this book about sea creatures, and I drew it.
“It has an octopus…it has sharks and anenomes.”
And out of the fourty chosen, Maia’s sweet simple drawing was picked as fan favorite on Facebook, and won the coveted book cover spot.
Her drawing was coloured by an Island Blue staff member.
“She was really thrilled, she was really excited.” says Maia’s mom.
“Even when she was chosen as one of the top fourty, she said, ‘I don’t think I can be on the cover, mom…’ and when she found out she was, she was thrilled.”
Our Place street shelter is also thrilled, because all proceeds from the $9.95 price will be donated to their art programs.
“To have this extra money coming in for art supplies and things like that means a great deal to us.” says Our Place Director of Communications Grant McKenzie.
“It really allows people a chance to not be thinking about survival all the time, but they can actually express themselves creatively.”
Just two-hundred books have been printed, and they’re selling fast.
When they’re gone, that’s $2000 dollars for Our Place.