Artbeat Studio Inc is hosting an event tomorrow night to wrap up a months-long fundraising campaign with the hopes of securing enough donations to keep all of their programming afloat.

Executive Director Lucille Bart says the Art Saves Lives ART Auction and Concert will hopefully push them past their fundraising goal of $150,000.

She says they’ve already raised 84 per cent of that goal.

“We started the year in a pretty tough spot financially,” said Bart. “We’re really hoping we can get there so we don’t have to cut any programming but it’s gone really well so far and the community support has been great.”

Artbeat is an adult mental health recovery organization that gives people the opportunity to explore their creativity through a six month artist in residency program. It was started by Nigel Bart, Lucille’s son, who was diagnosed schizophrenia at the age of 19.

“Being diagnosed with a mental illness is a devastating experience but it’s a common experience so people need to be able to have choices in their recovery journey and find out what’s helpful for them,” said Bart. “We’ve been going for 12 years now and have had great success with folks who go through the program.”

“They continue on with the work they had before or they go back to school in search of new careers and 90 per cent of them continue with their art making after the program.”

Bart admits the program’s success has been a bit of a mystery, but says something about the creative process gives people with mental illnesses a reason to find their confidence again.

“We know there’s much more to each person than their mental illness,” said Bart. “The creative process allows them to gain self-esteem.”

“It’s a complex recovery but all of the folks who go through the program say it’s meaningful.”

The event tomorrow (April 27, 2017) will have a silent auction featuring 30 artworks from artists who have been through the program before or outside artists who want to support the program. It will also feature music by the Dirty Catfish Brass Band and the Bart House Band.

It starts at 7 pm at Graffiti Art Programming; located at 109 Higgins Ave. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at or at the door.  

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