Sofie Hartwick with her works

Sofie Hartwick with her works

Show celebrates creative talents

The Awakening the Spirit Art Show celebrates the creative talents of people living with mental illness

Creativity finds expression through paint, paper, silk, mosaic and photography at the Awakening the Spirit Art Show.

“The show celebrates the creative talents of people living with mental illness,” said Lenai Schmidt, Canadian Mental Health Association intake coordinator.

For artist Sofie Hartwick, art was light while she lived with depression.

“Art always gave me joy,” she said. “I could draw before I could walk and I was always encouraged to do art. I did fine arts at university and ended up really loving it.”

Hartwick completed a digital art design program at Thompson Rivers University and now works for Wholesale Graphic Design. She’s never far from art as she paints, does photography, and plays flute and piano.

“Art can turn a bad day around. Sometimes I start painting and then I see something happen as I do it,” she said.

This the fourth year she has submitted work for the Awakening the Spirit show. One year her painting of a goat was selected from entries by participating artists to be used as a poster for that year’s show.

“One of the things that has helped me to keep painting is the CMHA Clubhouse art classes,” said Hartwick. “There are good teachers and we help and encourage each other. There are experienced artists and some who had recently discovered their talents.

“I will always keep painting; there’s so much to paint — animals, portraits, nature, fantasy, abstracts.”

The Awakening the Spirit Art Show, now in its 13th year, was organized by CMHA staff members Marie-France Ladouceur and Susan Myhre.

“There are amazing pieces of art in the show and many of them sell each year,” said Schmidt.

“We hope that the creativity and vision shown in the art will break down some of the barriers and stigma that exist about mental illness, as well as giving people living with mental illness medium through which to express themselves.”

The Awakening the Spirit Art Show runs to Oct. 25 at the Coatcheck Gallery at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, 3800-33rd St. It is open to the public during performances, and noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays.

For special viewings, please contact Ladouceur at 250-542-3114.