British Columbia Initiatives

This program started in the Fall of 2011 at Village at Mill Creek, a residential facility in Kelowna BC by Karen Close of the HeART Fit program.  The main idea was to change the focus of “painting” to the process, not the end result.  Every week two volunteers from the heART program help residents with dementia create new master pieces.  We have noticed significant changes in the residents as this has improved self-esteem and increased socialization.Once a week, for one hour, we paint with watercolours and occasionally with acrylics.

This initiative is based on the belief that the creative process and self-expression can help people develop insight into their situations—mental, emotional and physical. The current program is an arts-based support group for those who are recovering from cancer or living with a cancer diagnosis.

Gallery Gachet is a unique artist-run centre located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Gachet is a collectively-run exhibition and studio space built to empower participants as artists, administrators and curators.  Purpose: We strive to provide a focal point for dialogue amongst outsider/dissident artists. Through artistic means, we aim to demystify and challenge issues related to mental health and social marginalization in order to educate the public and promote social and economic justice.

The Vancouver based Health Arts Society (HAS) is the largest professional arts organization in the country serving audiences in care. Since 2006, it has delivered over 2,500 live music and spoken word events, 1,000 of these in 2009. Its core ArtsWay program has extended from south Vancouver Island to the far north of the province. All the performers are paid.

The Health Design Lab provides design opportunities to students and faculty through collaborative partnerships that apply solution-focused, human-centred research methodologies to complex problems in health care. Our focus puts people at the core of the research process. It ensures that the experts, the actual stakeholders in a problem, have a voice. This involvement results in more innovative outcomes, a better “fit”, and higher acceptance rates than with traditional design methodologies. As part of this process, we often hold co-creation workshops with our stakeholders.

Public Health staff choose a health promotion theme/slogan around which elementary school students design a bookmark. Bookmarks are judged by public health and community partners and one winner for each grade (K-7) is chosen.  Each winner receives $75 to Chapters/Indigo, and their bookmark is professionally printed and distributed in the community (3000 of each design are printed for a total of 24,000 distributed).