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by John B. Pluck

The Albert Scott Community Center in North Central is not well known for its support of visual art programs but this perception has recently changed.

Bringing together disabled adults who share an interest in the visual arts is the main focus of the Creative Connections Program launched last September. 

The aim of the program is to "have adults learn how to do visual arts and have fun while doing it and meet other people," said project facilator Jessica Hanna.

 Hanna said the program is very flexible in structure. The participants are encouraged to choose art projects that they are interested in.

Mark Bannman has been attending the classes since they first began in September.

Bannman said he saw a poster advertising the program at his workplace, the Saskatchewan Abilities Council, and decided to take part in the program, thinking it would be a welcome change from the routine of his job .

He said he has had an interest in the visual arts since childhood.

"I just really love art work," he said.

He uses the computer at the centre to help with his drawing. 

For new participants, the assessment of their artistic interest is gained by talking with them and then trying to get an understanding of what they can physically do, said Charlotte Hauk, the program’s visual arts instructor.

"I have to be very innovative in how I do things because some people can do things quite meticulously with great detail just like a regular adult would, but some can’t," she said.

Bannman, for example "is really quite innovative and a talented person," she said, noting he likes to draw comic heroes and often comes in early and draws comic figures on the computer. He is "an amazing artist," she said.

Hauk said she likes to work with clay and thought that Bannman would enjoy using clay slabs to carve the drawings of his comic heroes. Hauk said she gets many of her project ideas from children’s art.

The visual arts program offered by the centre is set to end in March of this year, said Hanna. "Depending on how we evaluate the program, we may change it or we may decide that another agency is doing it better. It depends on the evaluation," she said.

Photo by Jessica Hanna