Alternative Creations Studio to feature art in ninth annual posAbilities art show
Michelle Strutzenberger

The power of group art struck home for Alternative Creations Studio a couple of years ago when a few of the artists who have a disability came together to co-create a single piece of large art. 
A key intent was to build their skills in planning something and then following through.
One of the Alternative Creations Studio art groups at work.

One of the Alternative Creations Studio art groups at work.

Both the experience and resulting art were so successful, more groups were formed with a similar purpose. The studio has continued with that strategy.
“What we’re doing is building a stronger community by having people work together, learning to co-operate and share and in the end a piece of art happens,” says Alternative program lead Cindy Mateush.
Groups meet once a week to work on a specific project over the course of anywhere from three weeks to a year.
Sandra is one of the artists who currently works with a small team every Friday to paint an acrylic that depicts a richly coloured sunset on a deep red background. When asked what she enjoys most about doing art, she mentions this piece.
“If you know you’re going to be with a certain group of people on a certain day and you have a certain project that you’re all working on, it just creates a better harmony,” says Cindy, who has seen first-hand how people’s relational skills have been strengthened through the group art approach.
“In all honesty, it’s been a huge benefit,” she says. “When you’re working in a group you have to know what the person next to you is wanting to do and have room and space to allow them to do something and then feel that you can contribute too. It actually builds a far better friendship.”
The group art also makes sense in that it brings together people’s diverse skills “to create a complete piece,” says Cindy. “We have some artists that are very good with creating backgrounds and blending and some are about detail, so they build on each other’s strengths.”
While Cindy and other Alternative staff will provide general direction for a group project, they quickly step back and allow the artists to continue as they please.
All Alternative Creations Studio artists are contributing to the ninth annual posAbilities art show, slated for Oct. 29 at Heritage Hall. Many of the pieces will be group work, but some will be submitted by independent artists.
The sunset piece now in the works is expected to be done in time for next year’s show.
To learn more about the upcoming art show, click here.
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