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Grant gives boost to supportive art programs for adults with disabilities

The expanded supportive arts program was expected to launch just before COVID-19 hit

Thanks to a recent Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) grant, the Elora Centre for the Arts (ECFTA) will has expanded the reach and scope of their Supportive Arts program for young adults with (dis)abilities.

The three-year grant allows the Elora Centre for the Arts the opportunity to build on the proven model of their original program and increase the offered number of classes per week each year.

“Our Supportive Arts program is about enriching people’s lives through arts and culture, and this boost to the program from OTF is really improving access to arts-based learning opportunities and compelling artistic experiences for participants in our community”, says Judy Anderson, lead Arts Programmer and Instructor at ECFTA. “This program will impact so many people in our community over three years,” she says.

The expanded program was slated to launch in March, just before COVID-19 hit. The program was rescheduled and launched mid-September, in a slightly re-imagined format to best suit the needs of the participants. Various local partner centres who participate in the program are not running field trips at the moment and limiting their activities to in-centre day programs if anything.

“We decided we needed to shift our thinking a bit to deliver the program despite the restrictions” said Lianne Carter, Executive Director at the Elora Centre for the Arts. “We decided that, for Phase 1, we would take the program on the road and run it at one of our partner’s day facilities in Guelph. That means loading up art project materials, art instructors and assistants and driving to their location but if it means we can still run the program, that’s what we are going to do for now” she said.

Phase one of the program expansion includes an ECFTA-lead art project followed by a movement and mindfulness session twice a week. The second year of the program grows to three workshops a week, and the third year it expands to four workshops per week.

“I want to express our sincere thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for helping the Elora Centre for the Arts” said Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott. “This generous grant will ensure the continued success of this Supportive Arts program, allowing more young people to participate and benefit.”

One of the original Supportive Arts participants, Simon Greaves, is currently working on a large outdoor art piece, as a thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support of the program.

The piece will be completed and hung in the outdoor garden at the Elora Centre for the Arts in the spring.

To view photos of the program in the coming weeks, community members can visit or follow the progress on the ECFTA Facebook page @eloracentre.arts For more information please contact Lianne Carter director@ecfta or 519-830-1876.