KAMLOOPS — The latest art exhibition in Kamloops is showing just what can happen when people are given an expressive outlet.
Kamloops Arts Council's Crossing Bridges Arts Outreach program allows participants to learn how to utilize art skills to create their own masterpieces.
Since 2013, pieces collected from the program are featured in the Bridging Boundaries exhibit at the Old Courthouse gallery.
KAC's Outreach Coordinator Juli Harland says this year's event started off with a successful opening night (Nov. 7).
"A lot of the artists came out, and it was really cool for them to be able to see all of their artworks out on the walls in a gallery setting. We had some sell, so that was really quite lovely," Harland says, "and for these types of shows, the money goes back to the artists. So that's really nice to be able to support them in their creative endeavors that way."
Crossing Bridges collaborates with various social service agencies, including the Mustard Seed New Life Community, Canadian Mental Health Association Kamloops, Four Directions Storefront School, Osprey Place, Phoenix Centre, Kamloops Brain Injury Association, Boys & Girls Club, Kamloops Sexual Assault Centre and more.
Harland says they see a variety of people utilize the program, and a lot of them don't have any artistic sort of background.
"So being able to be involved in the programs that get put out throughout the community is really quite empowering," Harland explains. "We've all got a little inner five-year-old kid that wants to play with crayons, but throughout life we're told that that's not the good thing to do, and to buck up and be a grown up. So to be able to express yourself in a creative way (is great)."
Along with a lack of artistic background, Harland says a portion of the particpiants have not had an easy past.
"Some of our clients are coming from a lived experience type of background, where they're going through some struggles," she says.s "In an artistic way such as this, they get to be able to express their emotional side without it being threatening."
Harland can also attest to the confidence boost that comes along with being able to showcase your work.
"What a neat way to be able to be brought up in your self esteem and be able to be hung out in a gallery. I mean, up until not that long ago, I'd never been in a gallery."
The exhibition is on until Nov. 17, and will run 10:00 a.m until 5:00 p.m Tuesdays through Fridays, and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m until 4:00 p.m.
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