Brush strokes of hope

Society struggles to continue offering all-inclusive studio space

Victoria resident Devorah Stone puts the finishing touches on her painting

Victoria resident Devorah Stone puts the finishing touches on her painting

Devorah Stone picks up a paint brush, eyes her colourful painting propped up on an easel and dabs on a splash of colour.

“It’s called The Beat Goes On,” she says proudly, taking a step back to admire her handiwork: a large human heart painted in several shades of red, among other colours.

For the past two years the Victoria resident has been a regular fixture at the Pandora Arts Collective Society’s open studio sessions held two afternoons a week in Fernwood.

Each week, between 10 and 20 artists drop by the studio, provided rent-free by the Fernwood Community Association. There, they use free supplies to create paintings, sculptures, sketches and mixed-media works.

The space has served as a lifeline for people, some of whom have physical disabilities or mental health conditions.

But now the society’s future is in jeopardy and it may have to be closed. What little funds the group had have been tapped out.

“We don’t have any sort of steady anything. It’s all private donations,” says Stone, volunteer board vice-president. “We have been living grant to grant.”

The non-profit society needs $1,000 to cover its expenses this month, prompting board members to issue an urgent plea for help. The hope is that 12 people will each donate $1,000 a month for the next three years. Already three donors have stepped forward.

Members pay $10 a month or $2 per drop-in session. Many aren’t able to pay but are welcomed at the studio, regardless.

“We don’t want money to be a barrier,” Stone says.

“The reason that Pandora (Arts) is so great is that it’s for people who can’t afford to take lessons and they can’t afford the materials and supplies, and they can come there and paint,” says society board member Stephanie Taggart.

The initiative began in 2004 as an art therapy program that was funded by the Vancouver Island Health Authority and located on Pandora Avenue. After its funding was cut, several dedicated people worked to keep it going and eventually set up shop in Fernwood.

The act of creating is therapeutic for many, says Clive Beal, society director.

“We’re keeping people out of emergency services.”

The amateur artists treasure the encouragement, support and sense of community they receive at the all-inclusive space.

“It’s kind of a healing process for them to come and paint,” says Taggart, who has been coming to the studio for three years.

Stone, a self-described extrovert, says she felt isolated before attending the open art sessions.

“It’s given me an outlet, my confidence back, friends and a sense of purpose. It’s really been a major part of my life,” she says. “It gives a lot of people a place to go.”

How to help

To make a monetary or in-kind donation to the Pandora Arts Collective Society or  volunteer or participate in the open studio sessions, please call 250-920-7227 and leave a message, or visit www.pandoraarts.ca. Studio sessions happen Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1923 Fernwood Rd. from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

 

 

Just Posted

New changes are being proposed to four streets in James Bay to allow better access for cyclists. Residents have until June 11 to provide feedback. (Black Press Media file photo)
New revisions to James Bay bike lanes open for feedback

Routes on Government and Montreal streets planned for 2022

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

While recovering several items reported stolen from the set of a Netflix movie in early April, West Shore RCMP also seized drugs and drug trafficking items from a Colwood residence last week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Electronics, credit cards taken from Neflix set found in Colwood home

West Shore RCMP seize stolen items, drugs, trafficking materials

Saanich police used a drone to investigate a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal West Saanich Road crash

Driver who died veered across center line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Most Read