A gem of a night for Creative Works Studio
Toronto, April 27, 2016
By Marc Dodsworth
This was the tenth year that the Art Gems art auction brought together original artwork from celebrity and professional artists, but the Creative Works Studio fundraiser was anything but routine.
Creative Works Studio is an arts-based occupational therapy, outreach service in the Inner City Health program of St. Michael's. The studio gives people who struggle with mental health issues a place to heal, build self-esteem and develop life skills through participation in the arts.
Before the Art Gems live auction, Michael Landsberg, a TSN broadcaster and Bell Let’s Talk ambassador, spoke about his experience with depression and anxiety. He said any programs that inspire confidence and well-being among those with mental health issues are crucial. While not a member of the studio, Landsberg credited Art Gems’ attendees for their generosity and for helping those like himself.
“This was Art Gems’ most successful year,” said Judy Allen, director of Art Gems. “We exceeded our goal by $20,000 and raised a net amount of $185,000 for St. Michael’s Hospital’s Creative Works Studio. In fact, since 2007, Art Gems has raised more than $1 million for this life-changing mental health outreach program in downtown Toronto.”
Held on April 26 at the Berkeley Church, the silent auction portion featured pieces from celebrities, including Rick Mercer, Cmdr. Chris Hadfield, Colin Mochrie, Gillian Deacon, Jayne Eastwood, Plum Johnson, Virginian Johnson, Joe Mimran, Kimberly Newport-Mimran and Sarah Rafferty. Some Creative Works Studio members also created unique, commissioned pieces.
“The Creative Works Studio receives clients from mental health agencies across Toronto,” said Isabel Fryszberg, creative lead for the studio. “Each year, members visit the studio more than 2,500 times as they strive to make a comfortable return to active life in the larger community. Donations account for more than half of the studio’s funding and Art Gems is instrumental in allowing the Creative Works Studio to flourish and grow.”
About St. Michael's Hospital
St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.