November 9, 2018 1:18 pm

Want to make art but don’t know where to start? Edmonton non-profit ‘connects the dots’

A local non-profit is working to mentor artists, and make art available to all. The Art Mentorship Society of Alberta says artistic expression is a critical part of a healthy community.


A local non-profit wants to connect artists with business opportunities, patients with positive experiences, and the rest of us with a space to create.

“We want to help people share their work. It gives them a sense of purpose,” says Lindsay Knox with the Art Mentorship Society of Alberta.

“What are the barriers for you to create? There are always barriers,” explains AMSA executive director Robyn O’Brien.

Knox and O’Brien are both artists and understand the challenges that especially come with the business side of the calling.

“What we do is try and connect the dots and provide a mentorship program to help facilitate their goals,” Knox says.

“There’s grant writing involved and setting up exhibitions. You really have to market yourself and sometimes people that have a passion to create and share that with the world don’t always have the skills and abilities to put it all together.”

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The society is not just for professional artists. O’Brien describes AMSA‘s members as “anyone who uses art as a practice to continue their wellness path.” Participants range from existing artists to “people who colour at night,” explains O’Brien.

AMSA provides twice-weekly drop-in classes for the public, as well as outreach classes. And if you’re an art fan, you can rent or buy pieces created by members.

The society also assists artists facing mental and physical health issues. That mental health aspect will be front and centre at an event on Nov. 16. Speakers include mental health advocate Blake Loates, the only Canadian selected to attend Facebook leadership training for her work in the field.

READ MORE: Mental health advocate from Edmonton selected for Facebook Community Leadership Program

O’Brien says AMSA classes give palliative care patients something to look forward to in a week that’s often filled medical appointments and waiting rooms.

“It’s not just about creating, it’s about creating with a group of people that are there to support your wellness, that give awesome feedback, that give you support, and then just camaraderie sitting around having coffee.”

“We think it’s a holistic way where people can develop self worth and confidence, to even share their work,” adds Knox.

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