[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.
“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 recognize 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 created. 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
TORO GARLAND VISUAL ARTIST / TORO GARLAND THERAPEUTIC ARTS
With the utmost dedication to her craft, Toro Garland maintains a regular production of visual designs and is committed to one exhibition a year. The Therapeutic Practice represents an informal, relaxed, and safe environment where individuals through this Cognitive Practice learn a visual language of communication allowing for self-expression and healing.
TORO GARLAND Inc. consolidates itself as a Design/Artisan House; forever captivated by selecting an array of materials that determine form and function; thus, defining commercial applications for the conceived designs. Its commercial assignments include commissions for The Umbrella Shop, Alistair Eagle Photography, Ursula Medley Decorative Arts Studio, Marimba Trading Co., in Vancouver. In the Okanagan, clients have included the Penticton Herald Newspaper, Okanagan Summer School of the Arts, Canada Day Celebration Society, Penticton Indian Band, Penticton & Area Women’s Centre, and En’Owkin International Indigenous School of the Arts.
Fashions and jewelry lines have been sold and displayed in boutiques and galleries throughout B.C. and include, Dream Futon in Vancouver, Mascot Mines Tourist Info. Centre, Hedley Heritage Museum, Winking Peddler, Lendale Pine Furniture, and Lorianne’s Exclusives.
TORO GARLAND’s work has also been featured in numerous publications across Canada and comprises WIRED Magazine, La Vie en Rose,Cinema Canada, Indian Country Today, and as of late in ‘Mewsings’ – a charitable project for AlleyCATS Alliance Society, Theytus Books Publishing House, Making a Change Canada2018’s Calendar. While pictorial undertakings have been exhibited at the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan, Kelowna Art Gallery, Simon Patrick Galleries in Vancouver, and currently at, MONDO CREATIONS IN PENTICTON.
Marcela is the sole Owner/Operator; a Canadian Visual Artist/Designer of South American Indigenous Ancestry. As such, she takes inspiration from both North and South American motifs. Her pictorial representations containing an aesthetic rooted in a tradition of indigenous design and workmanship.