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The Creative Spirit Art Centre provides art education and studio space for people with disabilities. Feel free to browse our site and contact us on how you can become a member, make a donation or let us know if you're aware of an individual who could make use of our resources (csac@creativespirit.on.ca). Visit our contact page.

Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Open Saturdays for scheduled events. See our announcements online or become a member and join our mailing list! We're closed on all statutory holidays and throughout the month of August.

Update on the Creative Spirit Art Centre

January 2017

Dear Visitor, 

A few years ago, Creative Spirit Art Centre moved into a new studio and gallery space at 999 Dovercourt Road.

Starting in January 2017 we once again prepare to move into a new space. 

But this time, we will be moving out of our physical space, and metamorphosing entirely into an online organization. 

We will spend 2017 evolving into an online information resource housed on our website. The site will also host a blog on art and disabilities, featuring a new posts every month and art by Hanni Sager, Meiko Ando, Gabe Anderson and Mendelson Joe as well as photographs from our archives. 

We plan to supplement our online presence with two annual pop-up exhibitions and we will add workshops and lectures by request.

Postings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will continue to champion our artists and their work, and to promote a deeper, richer understanding of Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art. 

Even though we have a team of deeply dedicated, professional volunteers, we deeply regret that Creative Spirit Art Centre cannot continue as a public art gallery and studio space after December 31, 2017. The Centre simply cannot run without money. 

Unless we are rescued by either government agencies, a foundation or generous philanthropists, we have no option but to pursue this restructuring. If you think we can save the gallery and studio, please do contact us - we are nothing if not hopeful. 

CSAC has had 24 wonderful years of art exhibitions, auctions, conferences and festivals featuring a creative community which integrates artists living with long term disabilities into the mainstream arts world. We have learned a lot in our 24 years and we want to continue to share our knowledge. We will remain a charity and any donations will be used to continue our services through our website and social media.

On behalf of all the artists, volunteers, members, patrons, board of directors, I thank you for your support through all the years. 

Ellen Anderson
Creative Spirit Art Centre


Styx - Exhibition of Drawings by Oliver Pavao

Exhibition: Friday, January 6th - 27th, 2017
Reception: Saturday, Janurary 7th, 1-3pm

black and white line drawings, very detailed, approximately 20 by 30 inches

"How something as simple as a pen can create complexity and dimension never ceases to amaze me. It is this simplicity of materials that ultimately inspires these works. The underlying idea behind them all was to see what I can create with nothing but a pen and time. Lots and lots of time.

People have told me these images have fractal and Rorschach test qualities, as everyone seems to see something different when they look at them. But my intention has always been to mimic the world around me, to imitate 'life', and that magical complexity that arises from the infinite repetition of simpler, smaller parts."

Oliver Pavao

Hope to see you there!


Migraine - Exhibition by Natalie Hatherell

Exhibition:  November 19 to December 21
Reception: Saturday 19 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Natalie Hatherell started her "migraine" project at Creative Spirit Art Centre in 2015. She decided to make drawings of her migraine headaches using coloured pencils on coloured papers. What emerged are images which look like vibrant, electric currents of energy forming mandalas. Natalie started to experience the migraines after a traumatic head injury. She says that the images cause her pain but she discovered that after staring at them as drawings; they do not have the same effect on her. There are some images which she finds soothing.

Migraine drawing with blue squiggly background - looks like the iris of the eye with a squiggly pink centre, yellow, orange, cobalt blue, soft pink, two more rings of orange/red and a green splash around


Our new book This|ability: Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art

Book Launch Saturday November 12, 1-3pm

image of red cover of book with a black line in the middle of the book from top to bottom separating the title This|ability

We are delighted to invite you to our book launch, “Thislability: Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art” which will take place Saturday, November 12, 1-3 pm at the Creative Spirit Art Centre and invited to explore our exhibition of art from the Creative Spirit permanent collection to mark the launch of our new book will run from: October 11 - November 12, 2016.

This is the first Canadian publication on Canadian art brut and Outsider art. The book is a dream project of Ayako Ellen Anderson; founder of the Creative Spirit Art Centre and mother of Takashi Gabe Anderson, an artist who lives with cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, seizures and metal health issues. 

In 1992 , Creative Spirit Art Centre started the only Canadian collection focused on Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art. C.S.A.C. is dedicated  to “Advancing the creative power in artists with disabilities”;  through a public art gallery collection; exhibitions;  studio; resource and information centre; conferences; and festivals.

The works are from artists who create because it is their life. Art is often the only way they can share their visions.   

These artists live(d) with both visible and invisible disabilities. They found no one to champion them or invite them into the mainstream of public art gallery collections until the founding of Creative Spirit Art Centre.

Art Brut has remained an unacknowledged fine art category in Canada. Art brut has an  international audience and is part of the largest growth sector in retail art galleries in the U.S.A. and in international collections in the U.S.A., France, Japan, England and Switzerland. The term Art brut was created by the artist Jean Dubuffet who collected art by artists who were outside of the academic tradition. His famous collection is housed at the Musée de l’art brut, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Mendelson Joe’s letter about Art brut is included in the book. Mendelson Joe is himself, an unsung Art Brut hero. His portraits of Canadian artists, poets, musicians and politicians deserve to be in a national public art gallery collection.

Two important Canadian art brut and outsider artists; William Kurelek and Christiana Pflug are included in the AGO collection but neither are referred to by those categories. They are not are included in this book nor is Scottie Wilson. Art historians write of Scottie Wilson as a Canadian Art Brut artist but he was born 1890 in Scotland and about 1931 he spent  time in Toronto and then Vancouver. He returned to Britain in 1945 where he gained recognition in London, Paris and Basel.

Jean Basquiat was an American Art brut artist. He had a major exhibition at the AGO. 

We hope that this book will serve to educate Canadian art historians, art collectors, art teachers and artists on the valuable contribution of Art Brut and Outsider artists in Canada.

The art is about giving voice to the voiceless and to those most often left on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder – people living with long term disabilities. 

The twenty artists in the book are:

B. A. Anon., Gabe Anderson, Meiko Ando, Gilles Arseneault, Maruja Bonilla, Glen Cooper, Kristine Erglis, Albert Hall, Jeff Halliday, Alan Hooks, Orhan Guven, Glen James, Marc La bonté, Joan Lamantia, Alex Lazar, Catherine Little, Paul Sadgrove, Peter Smith, Jai Wax, Barry Woo .

We gratefully acknowledge the Canada Council for the Arts;  and Tak Yamasaki Limited; for grants which have made this book possible.

We thank the contributions of Writers: Mendelson Joe, Ellen Anderson, Gavin Barrett 

Editors: Lesley Kenny, Gavin Barrett        
Photographer: Richard Picton    
Design Agency: Barrett and Welsh
Art Director/Graphic Designer/Typographer: Bhupesh Luther                    
Production Artist: Deb Cochrane
Web Designer/management: Noman Siddiqui

This book honours all the artists who regardless of living with a long term a medical diagnosis; have the courage, the desire and will to make art which does not conform to the academic definitions of ART.

We look forward to sharing and seeing you!

Ayako Ellen Anderson
Mother, Dreamer, Artist, Executive Director
Creative Spirit Art Centre