A Cure Through Creativity

December 13, 2013

The Spark Newspaper – St.Mary’s Academy | Volume 7, Issue 1, p.14   |   November 2013   |   By Raven Rickner

As many of you might have been aware, the Mission Club raises awareness and raises funds for various organizations here in Winnipeg, one of them being Artbeat Studio. If you were like me, you may have heard the name and a general idea of what Artbeat is about, but not necessarily understood how cool and effective this non-profit charity group actually is. In fact, being able to see Studio Central last year and experience its message firsthand is exactly what has caused me to write this article. Let me introduce you to the inviting atmospheric, care giving community which is Artbeat Studio.

Thanks to places like Artbeat, a message of acceptance, care, and the freedom to create exists.
Artbeat Studio, Inc. is a community of people who strive to promote mental health healing through artistic mediums. The studio was founded in 2005 by Nigel Bart, whose main motivation was his identification with schizophrenia. Through art, Nigel was able to cope with his mental illness, and is now encouraging others to do the same. With the help of his loving family, Nigel’s creation of Artbeat has been able to allow those dealing with personal issues to have a healthy outlet for their troubles. The physical location of Artbeat Studio is in the Exchange District at 62 Albert Street. Its facilities include enough studio space to house nine artists dealing with mental illness. Many programs include pottery, painting, textiles, and various other creative activities, as well as a central location for easy access. Artbeat Studio also has a second location that houses a separate project. On the second floor of the Manitoba Housing complex at 444 Kennedy Street, Studio Central resides.

Studio Central 2013

Studio Central: Urban Arts Centre is a project of Artbeat Studio, Inc.

Studio Central is a place where alumni of Artbeat Studio many continue their artistic endeavours and participate in a more professional setting. It was also the place that the Grade 11 students of our school were so graciously allowed to visit. It is an absolutely wonderful experience. The atmosphere is incredibly inviting, and the interactions are awe-inspiring. Our class went in the morning when there were few people, but high energy. We were greeted by Nigel’s parents, Lucille and Ernie Bart, who told us a bit about the history of the studio. After the introduction, we were toured around the rooms by two Community Arts Program Coordinators, Rebecca and Maggie. Not only did we meet their sculptured-mascot, Art, we were able to see the supplies, collections of works, a live pottery demonstration, and a very touching video on the stigma surrounding mental illness. John Benningen, artist, author of Bipolar Soup, and chef, cooked us a healthy snack along with organic juice, exemplifying the reaches of different art mediums at the studio.

Overall this was an incredible experience. I cannot express enough how overwhelming being at Artbeat is. Putting it into perspective, mental illness is an important topic that no one ever seems to want to address. There is unfortunately a stigma surrounding people who suffer with mental illness, and it is a subject that needs more awareness, more action, and more understanding. Thanks to places like Artbeat, a message of acceptance, care, and the freedom to create exists.


*All information in this article has been provided by personal experience, as well as www.artbeatstudio.ca, which is definitely a place to check out if you are interested in learning more or getting involved through volunteer opportunities.