Frida Kahlo Self Portrait

Annual Mental Health Exhibition

Penticton Art Gallery. October 2017

[Article published in Penticton Art Gallery’s Newsletter: ARTS LETTERS]

(September, October 2017.   Vol. XXXIX No.5)

This year we are also proud to partner with Penticton’s Unity House and Marcela A. Toro Garland who facilitated a Therapeutic Art Class entitled ‘Drawing Fundamentals’ at Unity House for a period of ten months. Over that period she designed the program as a cognitive therapeutic activity for people experiencing Mental Health issues and who were in great need to enhance their overall sense of wellbeing. The art class, even though it coached participants on the use of materials and basic drawing skills, mostly represented a pleasurable activity for those afflicted by depression and/or other severe mental health ailments. The focus was not placed on the end product, but rather on process; thus, boosting self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. Her goal was to help contribute in the creation of a safe environment where individuals could explore creativity.

Marcela A. Toro Garland has worked for years in the Social Services field, particularity with victims of trauma. She was instrumental in the expansion of an Immigrant Settlement & Adaptation Program for the whole South Okanagan region. Due to her ability with languages, she encouraged many clients afflicted by PTSD and displacement due to both civil and foreign conflicts. After this extensive experience it was a natural progression to develop an interest and later more in-depth understanding on Wellness & Healing. In conjunction with this work Marcela is accomplished visual artist. www.toro-garland.ca

In closing I would like to personally thanks to all the artists who have opened their souls and shared their creativity allowing us a window into their souls and shared their creativity allowing us a window into their lives, their struggles and their triumphs. Once again I am indebted to Valerie Wood, Society volunteer Penticton Mental Wellness Centre, Sharon Evans President, Mental Wellness Centre, BC Schizophrenia Society-Penticton Branch, Marcela A. Toro Garland facilitator at Penticton’s Unity House and Dr. Mark Welch who planted the seed, without all our trust and belief this exhibition would not have been possible. This exhibition also coincides annually with Mental Wellness Illness Awareness Week and we ask that you take this opportunity to check in with your friends and loved ones.



Inti“In the beginning, stars and astral bodies performed a cosmic dance in space immemorial…
…Some of the formations emerging resembled large mythical beings. One of them, district in its appearance, resembled a white phoenix or what the people came to recognized as Thunderbird. Thunderbird was a colossal creature composed of minuscule stellar matter and it traveled and swayed through the infinite skies leaving debris of broken stars in its path, destroying and crashing due to the immensity of its size. But, as Thunderbird flaunted its wings and destroyed, it also crated. Particles of matter drawn together by gravity when close enough to each other, gave birth to new solids. In this manner, a blue planet situated in a precise location in space emerged. A planet that was to remain close enough to the sun as to receive its warmth – but not too close; and far enough from the moon that affects the movement of its waters – but not too far.” by Marcela A. Toro Garland (c)2016