Inspiring Hope with art therapy classes

Jamie Minne is one of the featured artists at the Pembina Hills Arts Council's October exhibition 'Inspiring Hope.' (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

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PHAC’s latest exhibition is Inspiring Hope, which displays the works of its Art Therapy Group. The group meets weekly at PHAC to share their love of art.

PHAC has been holding the classes for about 10 years now. “Members came to this group with different artistic experience,” facilitator Marilyn Young said. “Some had never held a brush before whereas others had years of experience.”

Young had been volunteering at Community Choices in Winkler when she said she realized many people were traveling from Morden to Winkler for the program.

“I had the idea, ‘Why doesn’t Morden have a place to go?’” she said. “That’s how we started.”
Right now there are seven people taking part. This will be the first time participants will have their artwork displayed in the gallery.

“They’ve worked really hard for the past year,” Young said. “Some paint on a painting for months, some do a painting in a sitting. Everybody’s so different but the thing is we’re painting, we’re doing something together and it feels good.”

One of the artists, Jamie Minne, started taking photos when she got a digital camera years ago. “[It was] just a teeny weeny little digital camera, didn’t even have a megapixel to it,” she said.

Much of Minne’s photography focuses on nature and natural scenes.

“I like to do natural stuff, God’s work and stuff,” she said. “I like old buildings and I like natural stuff. Old buildings, old cars, old anything. Stuff that’s falling apart looks really good in pictures.”

Minne also has a few paintings on display and CDs of her music available.

Minne said it’s been good to have somewhere to come to do art, and is happy to have her art displayed. “I love it,” she said. “It’s very exciting. I’m in awe, my art’s finally getting out there.”

Rose Wiebe is another artist whose art is in the show. She said she’s been coming to the art classes for around four years. “It was something creative to do,” she said. “[I] wanted to learn and express some creativity.”

Wiebe paints at home and at the classes. “I enjoy landscapes because I really love nature,” she said. “It kind of depends on when you’re feeling more inspired. Sort of like writer’s block, you can have painter’s block. When all the sudden you have the desire to paint, that’s when I paint better than if I’m supposed to paint.”

Wiebe said it’s exciting to have people see her art, but it also feels personal. “A couple of these are really personal because they hold a memory for me,” she said. “Everybody sees something different when they look at a picture, so there’s a little bit of being vulnerable, because you’re putting some of your personal story in there.”

Wiebe said the classes have helped her embrace her creativity. “I’ve been too cautious, so scared of making a mistake,” she said. “I’ve found when I just go for it just randomly, I’m better at abstract sometimes because I just let it fly, let it out. As soon as I’m worried about mistakes, I’m not as creative. It’s learning to let it out without worrying about mistakes.”

Janet Young’s pieces draw inspiration from working on the farm and from her mother, Susan Crawford-Young, who is another artist. Many of her pieces are collages of images.

“Sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to make and I just start doodling and it sort of comes out into something pretty neat,” she said.

Young said she would encourage others to try doing art as a group. “I find the artwork a great release for expression and general psyche,” she said. “You can focus your energy on the artwork and it’s a good way of getting creative expression and feeling proud of yourself. It helps to set aside time to work with others and get the creative juices flowing.”

“Anything that can alternatively express yourself I find helps release stress,” she added. “It’s definitely good for anybody who wants to help their mental health.”

The exhibition runs for the month of October. PHAC will be holding an opening reception for the show on October 11 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Janet Young is one of the featured artists at the Pembina Hills Arts Council’s October exhibition ‘Inspiring Hope.’ (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

A selection of Rose Wiebe’s pieces hang in the Pembina Hills Arts Council’s October exhibition ‘Inspiring Hope.’ (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)