Established in 2005, Artbeat Studio is the first of its kind in Manitoba and stems from one family’s personal experience with mental illness. Nigel Bart, founder and Studio Facilitator of Artbeat Studio, was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 19 and has since been using various forms of art to deal with the illness and stigma that surrounds it.

Art played a big role in my recovery, it helped me bolster my self-esteem, sharpen my creative process and gave me a voice to express myself. – Nigel Bart

Artbeat Studio is a 3,500 square foot facility that provides workspace for up to nine artists living with mental illness. Additionally Artbeat provides the resources and peer support in order to promote mental health healing and empowerment through artistic creative endeavour. Lucille Bart, Nigel’s mother and Executive Director of Artbeat Studio says, “We want to provide a place where artists can develop the skills that will help them find meaningful work, a better quality of life, and a stronger sense of community”.

Artbeat Studio accommodates the artists with working studio spaces and equipment over a program period of six months. Artists work on projects and develop technical skills through a mentorship program. They are also given the opportunity to participate in a number of workshops during and after their residency. Following their completion of the sixth-month residency, the alumni community has access to alternative studio space and art programming in a partnership with Winnipeg Housing. Artbeat Studio supports a variety of mediums including painting, pottery, textile art, graphic arts, stained glass, weaving, music and poetry.

Artbeat Studio is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s historic Exchange District, an area which is renowned for its artistic community. This centrally located studio is easily accessible by artists from across the city. The intended beneficiaries include each participant artist, their caregivers, the local inner city community, and society as a whole.