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‘It’s just like your family’: Kingston’s The Mess Studio 10 years old and going strong

WATCHL: Ten years and going strong for Kingston's "The Mess" art studio.

Let’s talk about “The Mess.”

That’s the name of an art-based program in downtown Kingston, designed for those affected by poverty, addiction, mental and physical health issues. On Tuesday, The Mess officially celebrated its 10th anniversary.

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Sandi Dodds is the executive director and co-founder.

“We’re called The Mess Studio because life can definitely be messy and so can art,” Dodds said.

The Art of Hanging Art
The Art of Hanging Art

And according to Dodds, if you keep working on it and persevere — in both life and art — something beautiful will result. And that’s been the case as The Mess celebrates a decade on the Limestone City scene.

The initiative, which is run out of the basement of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in the downtown area, is a place where art and relationships come alive, Dodds says.

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“We are diverse and inclusive but at the heart of The Mess are people that are struggling with physical or mental health, addition, poverty, loneliness,” Dodds explained.

“We qualify that only to say please come out. Don’t let anything stop you from being a part of our community, we want to remove all stigmas.”

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Sharon Walker has been a part of The Mess for seven years now. She enjoys producing art, and she also enjoys the atmosphere where she does it.

“It’s really a great place to come and meet new people and it’s just like your family,” Walker said. “That’s what it is.”

Global News Morning explores The Mess Art Studio
Global News Morning explores The Mess Art Studio

Dodds and co-founder Mechele te Brake have taken something from humble beginnings to what it is today, and Dodds says they had no idea that they’d go two to 150 people.

The Mess has spent the past seven years at St. Andrews, all rent-free. The non-profit organization is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.