This piece by Kimberley Chambers called Girl at the Piano is one of many art pieces to be part of the Forward House final showcase at the Quality Resort Bayside Dec. 3-5. — Submitted by Sharon Welch

Final showcase for Forward House artists in Parksville

Clients with mental health challenges learn new strengths

After several mini-shows over the summer, the artists of Forward House will have their work on display for a final showcase running Dec. 3-5 at Quality Resort Bayside.

Forward House, a Parksville-based psychosocial rehabilitation program for people living with mental health challenges, has been helping their clients to learn to express themselves through art.

“We do a lot of work with expressive therapies at Forward House and so, through that, a lot of our clients have discovered strengths and they’ve built new talents as well that we really wanted to feature, because we are a strength-based organization and we want to help people do better at what they do rather than focusing on what they can’t do,” said Sharon Welch, executive director of Forward House.

So, through a Parksville Qualicum Community Foundation grant with Canada 150 and the support of several businesses, Forward House put together a series of exhibits to showcase their clients’ work, and a calendar of the work to sell as a fundraiser to build an accessible bathroom.

This final showcase will include paintings, photographs, sculptures, jewelry and more, all by Forward House clients.

Some are already professional artists, while some have only just begun exploring what they can do.

“We’ve seen some real development of skills,” said Welch. “Some of our painters are doing some amazing things now, and we’ve got people making jewelry and doing all sorts of fun things.

It also helps to build people’s self-esteem and self-confidence… and we’re hoping for a really good turnout at this display to show community support for what they’re doing.”

The final showcase takes place at Parksville’s Quality Resort Bayside on Dec. 3, from 1-5 p.m.; Dec. 4, from 3-7 p.m.; and Dec. 5, from 3-7 p.m.

Art will not be for sale at the event, but those interested can arrange to contact artists after the show. Calendars will be for sale for $20 each. Artists will also be working on new pieces at the show.

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