Jerry LaFaery is a Vancouver artist who’s work is being showcased through Coast Mental Health’s Art Project Roadshow. (Susan Hancock/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

When art becomes therapy

Coast Mental Health brings Art Project Roadshow to Langley

Coast Mental Health’s (CMH) new initiative, Art Project Roadshow, is using creativity to give clients a chance to express themselves through a public outlet which they may never have otherwise had.

Sixteen artists, all clients of CMH, are being featured all across the Lower Mainland from May until October which includes two stops in Langley; The City Hall Library throughout July and the Murrayville Branch Library in August.

One such artist, Jerry LaFaery, said he wants to convey with this project what he is unable to do with speech.

“I feel really good about participating in Art Project Roadshow. This show allows for an alternative form of communication to take place between groups that many times have challenging stigmas attached to them.”

CMH is a non-profit organization which has supported people and their families with mental health challenges for the past 47 years. Nair Place in Langley has been under their operation for the past year; a 25-bed residential facility now offers assistance with both physical and mental health needs.

Phil Lewinson, facility manager of Nair Place, said art is a great way for clients to heal after a health issue has altered their life.

“It’s about making the next step and gaining confidence that has been taken away. When some becomes challenged mentally or physically, staying down is not the key – they must progress forward,” Lewinson said. “The result has been overwhelmingly positive and I am so proud to see the support the project has received.”

Through art and design, members of the CMH program can explore creative potential, providing opportunities to develop new skills, such as producing a professional artist’s portfolio.

To help overcome challenges of entering the art community, the program walks members through the exhibit process which utilizes communication and organizational tasks.

When LaFaery was struggling to find affordable housing, he worked with CMH staff to find a home. He is now a multi-disciplinary artist who paints, acts, and sings for a living.

“The work I’ve chosen for the roadshow is [called] ‘loud.’ There are lots of secrets to find in the pieces, and hopefully that’s the fun part for the viewer to work out. There are no right answers by the way,” LaFaery explained.

Read more: There’s more to art than meets the eye

In total, there are thirty pieces of artwork on display, produced by members of the Resource Centre in Vancouver.

For more information on the program, the artists, and where artwork can be see throughout the year, people can visit www.coastmentalhealth.com/art-project-roadshow.

The current exhibit at Langley City Hall is open:

9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays

10 a.m to 5 p.m. on Saturdays

1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays

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Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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