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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.

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 


Erella Ganon Art Exhibition!

Exhibition Reception:Colourful water colour illustration of Erella Ganon with a high hairdo with flowers, feathers, leaves in her colourful hair

Saturday, September 10, 
1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. 
at the Creative Spirit Art Centre

Exhibition runs from: 
September 10 to October 7, 2016

Erella Ganon is an artist who has been illustrating her experiences in journals
for most of her life. She worked as a writer/journalist/radio announcer and in 1986, as a producer of Canada's first AIDS benefit. Erella was one of the organizers of Kumbaya for AIDS and helped to establish Canada's AIDS hospice, Casey House and the literary event, Word On the Street. She has plied her trade as a reviewer/journalist for NOW Magazine, CKLN-FM, CFNY-FM and for CBC radio and CBC TV. She was a New Media Designer for Extend Media/ Digital Renaissance and continues to be a strong community advocate as the Moderator for the Dufferin Grove Neighbourhood

In 1998 Erella was diagnosed with a brain tumour caused by a usually fatal, rare disease called Cushing’s. She documents her world in which she lives with an invisible disability. She posts her art online and delivers  lectures with slide shows of her art works  which offer the patient's perspective and how medical issues affect a person's life.

Erella's online visual diary inspires appreciative responses from patients and caregivers. Learning that these images and texts to be helpful to others dealing with similar situations inspires her further. Providing understanding for families, support teams of people suddenly diagnosed with something scary is helpful. Not only patients, but doctors often feel powerless and seeing themselves in her work seems to make people feel better. Sharing her experiences provides reassurance to others who often feel voiceless and misunderstood that they are not alone. This is what is her vision now: 


TV Documentary: http://tinyurl.com/erelladoc

More links:

Brain Surgery for My Soul: http://tinyurl.com/erellaideas

Lunch with Picasso story:  http://soundcloud.com/erella-beaubella/erella-ganon-interviewed-about

Dufferin Grove and Me:  http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2013/02/24/listservs_provide_way_for_community_members_to_connect.html

Erella and John Cage: http://ionandbob.blogspot.ca/2016/04/erella-ganon-and-bob-talk-with-john-cage.html

Erella's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/erellaartist/

We hope to see you! It will be fun!

Thank you,


Getting ready for our 25th Anniversary in 2017!

We will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary in 2017 and are on a mission to collect photos from anyone who has been a friend, donated, purchased artwork, or supported us in any way. Please send us a photo of yourself so that we can start putting together a collage of our friends for the celebration! Send your photos to: csac@creativespirit.on.ca with the subject line Collage Photo. Thank you!

line illustration of a camera on an orange background __________________________________________________________________________________________________