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Hands on Art works showcase the creativity within

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Life should be about what is possible, not what’s impossible.

That’s one of the reasons Sue Bendall is greeted by a real sense of anticipation when she arrives to teach art classes at Standing Oaks, a residence in Sarnia for the medically fragile.

“They are so ready for me when I come in every Friday,” she says.

In the three years since she started Hands on Art, Bendall has noticed a change in her artists, who have become more aware of their surroundings, take joy in their results and are empowered by the process.

They use art tools often made by Bendall, who adapts paintbrushes and other art supplies so her students can more easily use them.

Volunteers and staff at Standing Oaks assist but the artists are in charge as much as possible, indicating colours to be used and their modified tools to get the job done.

“Our motto is to do with, not for,” Bendall said.  “It’s the process that’s important, not the end product, although it’s been a real bonus that some of the art looks very good when it’s matted and framed.”

This month, the public has a chance to enjoy the work of the Hands on Art artists at the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts, corner of Christina and Wellington streets.

An exhibit and sale with about 60 of their pieces opened in The Turret Room last week and continues to March 24.

One wall features 12 pieces that will be used for the annual Celebrities on Canvas auction on April 22.

This is a big fundraiser for Community Concerns for the Medically Fragile, a small and hard-working group responsible for establishing Standing Oaks, which houses five residents and offers one respite bed.

Last year, Celebrities on Canvas raised about $39,000 by auctioning off paintings done in Bendall’s class as well as dozens of others donated by local and celebrity artists.

This year Robert Bateman, Patricia Rozema, Jack Keefe, Regina Gudelis, Duncan Pheasant, Josephine Vandeguchte and MP Marilyn Gladu are among the celebrity artists.

Tickets are $75 or eight for $550 and available at Sarnia Scotiabanks, says Joan Armstrong, the organization’s office administrator and fundraiser.

Celebrities on Canvas is at the Lambton College Events Centre and includes dinner, the auction, a pianist, Wes Harding as motivational speaker and live music by CD/DC.

All monies raised will support the medically fragile in our community.

For more information, visit the Facebook page for Community Concerns for the Medically Fragile. To view the Hands on Art exhibit, visit the Lawrence House, open Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Wednesday – Friday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Want to share something great about Sarnia’s cultural community?  Contact Cathy at 226-932-0985 or [email protected]

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