Frida Kahlo Self Portrait


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 the process; thus, boosting self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. Her goal was to help contribute to 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 a more in-depth understanding of 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 believe 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.


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