The Heart of the Art in Silk Screen

The Cause

The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts is a unique and wonderful place where people with barriers to the arts world can create and express themselves. On weekdays the studios are full of amazing artists with developmental disabilities such as Autism and Down Syndrome. In the evenings and weekends the studios serve underprivileged youth, children with developmental disabilities and many other minority groups. The mediums our artists work in are diverse. We currently offer clay, painting, textiles, dance, computer animation and so much more.
The Nina wants to change perceptions about who can create art and pay forward the great work our artists do. We are doing this by getting our artwork out in front of the public at art shows, craft fairs and local events. This allows our artists to meet people, show their work, generate income and most importantly change perceptions of who an artist can be. The Nina’s idea would be to introduce a medium to our artists that would help them generate merchandise and show pieces for these events. Silk-screening would be an important addition to our complement of art skills we offer to our artists. Bringing silkscreen materials and supplies to our studios will allow us to expand the artistic possibilities in three of our studio areas:
Printmaking: Silkscreen will allow us to produce one or multi-colour prints on paper or other media with qualities of line and texture that are not possible with our current approaches to print. We will also be able to support artists in making their own 1 and 2 colour t-shirts, greeting card sets or other merchandise.
Ceramics: Silkscreen techniques can be adapted to apply printed layers of slip or underglaze to the ceramics being made in this studio. This will add an entirely new set of embellishment or mixed media possibilities to these artists.
Fiber: This studio will also derive great benefit from being able to work with silk. Adding these materials and techniques to our studios will enable these artists to create their own printed textiles with imagery they create themselves as well as panels for wall hangings quilts or other textile based projects.
The Nina would like to run an annual silk-screening program starting in September. The centre needs help though with the initial start up cost of the equipment and supplies. Once in place this program will be a revenue generator for our artists and an exciting way to get their artwork out into the community and changing lives.

Who Will it Benefit?

This program will benefit over 170 artists with developmental disabilities that create in the Nina studios. These artists will have a chance to explore a new medium and create art and products that they can bring to the community. The silk screening equipment would also be used by our underprivileged youth program and our free community arts night program. We offer free art classes to inner city children who otherwise may not get the opportunity to explore the arts and free family and community arts night classes to those in the inner city community. Children with disabilities will also be able to utilize the silk screening equipment and learn the skills to create their own stunning artwork.

The program will benefit the whole community though as the artwork is used to pay if forward through educating the community about people with barriers to arts world and how art can create and even playing filed. This medium also allows for producing products such as t shirts, scarves and greeting cards which can help generate revenue for the artists while showcasing their skills.