Artists helping artists

Annie and I ventured down to the Dovercourt Village recently, to take in a retrospective exhibition by the late Canadian watercolour artist Robert J. Anderson, who spent his entire life painting the Canadian landscape.

We weren't really prepared for what we found at the gallery - the Creative Spirit Art Centre

Instead of a traditional local gallery what we discovered was an active centre for the support of adult artists with special needs. It was founded in 1992 by Ellen Anderson, mother of Gabe, a developmentally disabled adult. At the time, there were not many opportunities for her son and others. A very determined and engaging woman, Ellen sought allies and allegiances in both the art and the learning fields and opened her small storefront gallery and studio. Since then, the centre has been supported by grants, donations and volunteer help.

It took only a few minutes chatting with Ellen before I was convinced I should offer my help, and she promptly signed me up as a volunteer member. Annie spent time admiring the work of the three or four students who were more than happy to show their paintings, while I soaked up the magnificent paintings and drawings in the exhibition.

On show also, to my great delight, were many of Robert's sketchbooks and portfolios of unmounted paintings. I have to get back before the exhibit closes on February 2nd in order to look through these books in greater detail.

The centre is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is located at 999 Dovercourt Road, Toronto  Map

There's a art auction coming up in February - more on that when I get the details.