Monthly Archives: December 2012

Why is ART important?


earth-without-art-6368So I’m totally procrastinating on doing my write ups for my website and I keep asking myself “Why would someone want to sign up for my art classes?”, “How the heck am I going to write up something that will convince people that my classes will be good for them?”  And I guess the main question I keep asking myself is, “Is ArT important?”

I know for myself that Art allows me that space to be myself and to do my own thing. It gives me a place where I can turn off the world and just focus on me. Ive always loved the arts, all of the arts … cant  say I’m great at all of them, but I have tried most of them and figured out as an adult what I like and what inspires me. So in searching the internet, I came across a ton of research and information on the importance of art in every day life and especially in education.

Andrea Mulder-Slater, founder of, talks about how art not only can help kids understand other disciplines better, such as math, science, geography. But that it also helps minds to be creative while teaching about human interactions, developing problem solving skills and teaching people how to communicate in other ways. She also talks of how sad it is to see Art disappearing from school curriculum’s when its so vital to  human development. It is often the Arts that seems to be the first thing to go when it comes down to budget cuts.

I then found an old post put out by that posed the question “Why are the arts important to humans today?” to the open forum. Some of the answers provided were nothing short of inspiring. Some of my favourite quotes:

“It is amazing how the arts can unite people across the globe, no matter where they are from, because they transcend cultural differences and capture something of what it means to be uniquely human.”

“Not having the arts is like living in a black and white world when color is an option.”

“I would add to this that the arts allow for a sense of belonging for many kids that they wouldn’t otherwise have.  Artists tend to be (but are not always) very inclusive; people who are a little unusual are more accepted.”

The last quote is one that really spoke to me about why I am creating my art centre. It is my hope that by creating groups based on interests, such as painting, drawing, sculpting, etc. that friendships and socializing will occur naturally. In working with people with disabilities for many years, I have always found that creating socialization groups was so difficult, especially for older children, teens and adults. It always seemed forced and unnatural. It was always very difficult to find social groups and peers of the same age with similar interests. I am truly hoping that by bringing people together with a common goal that friendships will ensue.

Last night I attended an event called Artism, which was a celebration of the art of people with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome put on by Autism, Asperger’s Friendship Society. They had a part in the evening where they had a teenage group called Art in Action put on an interactive play for the audience. Art in Action is a Self-Advocacy Program based on elements of the Theatre of the Oppressed. When the actors were asked at the end of the evening what they liked most about being in the Art in Action group, one of the actors said “that I have all of these guys as friends”.  It was that comment that reminded me of how important it is to create groups that give people who have difficulties socially a place to belong, to be themselves and to create and develop strong relationships with like minded people. That was so poignant for me.

drawing on tshirt

So I’ll pose the question to all of you out there in WordPress land…do you think the arts are important and why? Im very curious to hear what people think…

Happy International Day of Persons with Disabilities!


International-Day-2012-60-per-cent2-280x359Mandala Art Centre celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by participating with Inside Out Theatre and Momo’s Mixed Ability Dance Theatre in a flash mob in downtown Calgary today!  It was great to see people I hadn’t seen in a while and to see how this amazing group of people came together to celebrate.

the +15 in Calgary is the hubbub of Calgary’s corporate district and so it was decided that this would be the perfect place to have a flash mob, especially at lunch hour. The United Nations designated theme for 2012 was Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all. “ It was really interesting to see the variety of reactions of people in the +15 to our presentations. Some people stopped to watch with big smiles on their faces, while others seemed to be put out, trying their damnedest to make their way around us to get their  lunch. As I watched, I felt it was a good thing to put people out and to have them have see what we were doing. I felt it was also good for them to experience what it’s like to try to get around Calgary when there are so many obstacles in the way. We also had the good fortune to have the manager of the Wendy’s in Gulf Square be so nice to give all of the participant a frosty dessert, thanking all involved for inspiring her. This was my kind of person…

Over all it was a fantastic day and everyone involved should be commended on their work and dedication to the event!