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Healing invisible wounds with the Art Cart

Healing invisible wounds with the Art Cart
From CBC - October 14, 2017

Every Thursday at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in the west end of Toronto, sterile plastic chairs are pushed aside to make way for agraffiti-coveredcart stocked with paint, felt, scissors and paper.

Patients peek their heads into the otherwise grey, multi-purpose room, lured by the sound of laughter. Disposable water bottles filled with bright paints are piled around large white sheets of paper on tables as patients gather around, tools in hand.

The Art Cart program is run by Gifts of Light, a group funded entirely by donationsthat supplies patients with free hygiene products, clothingand now, art classes. It began as a pilot project one year ago and has expanded to offer improv comedy classes, painting and drum-making.

SheriStranger, an instructor for the Art Cart sessions, came to art as a way to deal with her own mental health struggles.

"For me any kind of art is art therapy," she says. "I like doing expressive arts ... because you do not have to have any art skills to do it."

Gifts of Light manager Quinn Kirby says staff have been blown away by the results.

"It just sparks this other aspect to the treatment," she says. "I think a lot of people can really bond over this."

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