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UsedfulNews: Sponsored content in News in Victoria Area

How one special art program is helping people heal and grow
"It's not just about the art - it’s about creating a safe space and a sense of community"

Finding a creative outlet can be a life-changer for the people Cool Aid serves. It doesn’t just give a sense of purpose and pride, it can help someone process pain, trauma and other deeply-held emotions.

“The creative process can be very therapeutic,” said Julia King, program facilitator at Cool Aid’s
Downtown Community Centre. “And it’s not just about the art – it’s about creating a safe space and a sense of community.”

Julia is excited to fully reopen the Community Arts Program at the Downtown Community
Centre after many months of restrictions due to COVID-19. “It fills a huge gap for our community and our clients,” she said. “It’s a beautiful program.”

Every Monday, participants gather around the tables in the Community Centre art studio. They choose from a wide variety of high-quality art supplies and get creating. Volunteers and staff members provide support and encouragement.

Once a month, an artist from the community delivers a workshop so that participants have the opportunity to learn and develop new skills.

The group of participants is close-knit and deeply supportive of one another. When someone new joins the program, they’re welcomed with open arms.

“That sense of community and connection really helps people,” said Julia.
Julia is deeply grateful to Cool Aid’s supporters for making the Community Arts Program possible.

“You have no idea how impactful your financial and emotional support is. You’re changing lives by providing this support system and safe space and by allowing people to come together through the creative process.”

To support Cool Aid’s Community Arts Program, you can provide a donation to purchase art supplies at www.coolaid.org/ways-to-help/donate. If you are an artist or creator and would like to deliver a workshop, contact Julia at dcc@coolaid.org to learn more.