I aim to be the premier creative wellness service in Niagara, offering one-on-one and group services to those seeking guidance and support when talk therapy isn't enough both online and in person. As a survivor of many challenges, including abandonment, childhood poverty and mental and physical abuse and surviving the residual challenges in youth and young adulthood that accompany upbringing as such, I knew when I was a young mother myself that I wanted to be the support for children, youth and adults that I needed but did not always receive in time or at all.
It all began for me in art with some natural talent for painting emotions. My first sale of four paintings was in 2008 at Artistry-on-the-Lake. Since then, my talent, reputation, and networks within the arts and culture community have grown. My pieces were recently shown in the 2020 & 2021 City of St. Catharine’s Mayors Annual Juried Art Exhibits. 2020’s theme was Truth and Reconciliation. In solidarity with indigenous cultures, I created a piece featuring hope for the future. For the 2021 theme of Resilience, she made an abstract self-portrait speaking to the challenges which Creatives endured during the social lockdowns. I have also had pieces in exhibits in Hamilton and Niagara Falls.
I have also worked in the community as a social services worker, group facilitator and self-care and healing group and retreat programmer. I share my knowledge and experience as I develop programs and activities that allow others to improve their overall wellness through art participation by applying various methods and theories in art therapy and brief solution-focused counselling. I am currently pursuing professional development courses in psychology counselling and business development. She hopes to one day become a certified art therapist, practice full-time, and run wellness retreats on a grander scale.
I have worked for and volunteered in the social services industry in Niagara for many years and am currently running rec-based therapeutic child and youth programming for a reputable, not-for-profit organization in St.Catharines. With over ten years of experience developing and implementing arts-based and therapeutic rec programming in both the arts and social services fields and a 16-year career in hospitality and special events, the idea to create ‘Be Whimsi Art Loft’ as its own unique identity was formed. After participating in the Niagara Falls Piano Project, #nfplayplayplay, in 2018, a fire was lit for participating in public art projects. The idea that people wanted the togetherness that creative projects provided inspired new art projects and a global audience. In 2019, participating in the Next Niagara GNCC’s ‘Priceless Art Auction’ and winning the art battle offered growth in recognition as a professional Artist. In 2020, The Secret Garden Doors project, in collaboration with Links for Greener Learning, involved applying her skills as an artist and in social services through grant writing, painting, artist recruitment, and coordination while creating a community garden large-scale art installation. I have also held Board and committee positions with the Carmel Fine Arts and Music Festival, the City of St.Catharines Cultural Advisory and Culture Planning committees, and The Niagara Foster Festival.
Employed as a social worker for community not-for-profit charitable organizations for 10.5 years, I have held several postings, including Volunteer Coordinator, Book Keeper, Grant Writer, Intake Worker, Community Connections Worker, and Community Outreach Coordination. But, over and above those duties, I have always had a passion for arts involvement and its healing qualities, so I accepted these added responsibilities of creating and developing several art projects for these community organizations. These included facilitating social and therapeutic paint classes, spearheading the 150 Mosaic Mural Project for St.Catharines, running youth group crafting workshops, nurturing and developing a 5-week creative program and organizing a full-day art retreat for seniors, developing and facilitating a children’s art and recreation after-school program for four years.
I also participated independently in ‘Ontario Culture Days’ as an activity leader in 2017, 2018, 2019, in 2021, participated in the ‘In The Soil Arts Festival,’ in 2018 and 2019 in the ‘Niagara Falls Writers Festival’ in 2018, in the ‘Carmel Fine Arts and Music Festival’ as the kids’ zone chair and facilitator in 2017 and 2018, and 2018 the ‘Niagara Parks Rooted in the Garden’ as a workshop facilitator. Once the limits were lifted, the St.Catharines Cultural Investment Program invested in the program ‘Gentle Painting.’ The success of that program spurred the development of an online arts-based therapeutic wellness curriculum and in-person Art and Wellness retreats.
1-on-1 Coaching Online
Programs are 4 to 6 weeks in length.
· The Stress Antidote Outcome: Make Inner Peace Your First Resort!
· Inspired To Change Outcome: Make Your Goals A Reality!
· Self-Love Self Worth Inventory Outcome: Discover Radical Self-Acceptance!
· Why Is Calm So Hard Outcome: Utilize Art & Creativity To Help Regulate Emotions!
· Relax, It’s Only Art Outcome: Believe That The Art World Needs You Too!
Group Sessions Online
Sessions are approx. 2.5 to 3 hours in length
· Art Journaling (MABPs) Outcome: Gather New Ideas and Share Your Creations.
· Gentle Painting (MABPs/ASIs) Outcome: Feel proud and relaxed while creating a unique canvas art piece.
· Self-Love Self Worth Inventory (MABPs/SAGs) Outcome: Discover Radical Self-Acceptance!
Group Sessions In-person
Sessions are approx. 2.5 to 3 hours in length
Art Journaling (MABPs) Outcome: Gather New Ideas and Share Your Creations.
· Neurographic Art Making (MABPs) Outcome: Get the Answer You’ve Been Searching For!
· Gentle Painting (ASI) Outcome: Feel proud and relaxed while creating a unique canvas art piece
· Self-Love Self Worth Inventory (MABPs) Outcome: Discover Radical Self-Acceptance!
· Soothing Bilateral Art Making (MABPs) Outcomes: Relax your mind and body.
Build Your Own Retreat
Half Day, Full Day or Overnight
Thank you for organizing this project. Mirta and I had a really great
creative conversation about life and connections and the ways we
reimagine ourselves. It was a really rewarding experience. Looking
forward to the artist chat. You can find our completed pieces attached
and our artist statements written below, as requested. If you need any
further information, let me know.
It was a great experience. The youth group loved it they kept requesting another session. It's an excellent outlet for them to express themselves, gives them calmness, and removes them from their emotions and environment anxieties. Hanan, GirlTalkNiagara Program Coordinator
Fun and informative! Friendly, calm atmosphere with supportive guidance during activities. Wide variety of supplies with which to create. Facilitator showed sincere interest in participants' experiences and creations.- Culture Days 2022 participant