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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Workman Arts Being Scene by Toronto

The Gladstone Hotel on Queen West is one of the anchors of what Vogue Magazine dubbed “a verifiable artery of indie patisseries, homegrown labels, and hidden-from-view galleries—hallmarks of hipness, if ever they existed.”

Being Scene 2014
It’s also the site of the 14th annual Being Scene juried exhibition, a testament to the calibre of work on display. The show is put on by CAMH partner Workman Arts, an arts and mental health company whose artists are people living with mental illness and addiction.

Workman Arts visual arts manager Leila Timmins
Workman Arts visual arts manager Leila Timmins

Leila Timmins is the visual arts manager for Workman Arts and the facilitator of this year’s show. “It represents the entirety of our community. There’s everything from emerging to more established artists. There’s work in multiple different mediums, from photography to collage, painting, drawing and sculpture.”

It is a Knell that Beckons Thee (to Heaven) by Lisa Walter
It is a Knell that Beckons Thee (to Heaven) by Lisa Walter

Many of the pieces displayed every year get sold. The exposure for the artists is invaluable, and the community gets to see a different side of mental illness and addiction than they might normally see.

“I think it’s really worth experiencing,” says Timmins. “It represents such a vibrant and engaging part of our community and it’s just a fantastic event.”

The show is on now until October 30th from noon to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free.


Sean Patenaude
Sean Patenaude
Photographer, urban landscapes and portraits
Been with Workman Arts for a year and a half

How did you come to Workman Arts?

“I was referred to Workman Arts by an occupational therapist at CAMH after a stay at detox there.”

How would you describe the outlet Workman Arts has been for you?

“Almost indescribably useful and helpful. I can’t really say enough good stuff about the effect of good stuff it’s been for me.”

“Coming from a place where you’re in recovery from addiction, you’re at the lowest spot on the totem pole and I found myself in a very fearful place in the world around me, not knowing how to interact with it.”

“I first glommed onto moments of beauty looking around. Then as I progressed...I started to focus on instead of seeing a bunch of frightened strangers I’d see how nice the light looked on someone’s cheekbones. The portraits I took started to be very positive, to find people looking proud and happy and that translates to my relations with people now.”

You can an audio interview, conducted by Workman Arts’ Catherine Jones, with Sean about his work here.

Lorette Luzajic
Lorette Luzajic
Collage based mixed media
Been with Workman Arts for two years

What brought you to Workman Arts?

“I’ve been in treatment at CAMH for probably seven to eight years...and my shrink recommended Workman Arts because they have classes that I could make good use of.”

What would you like visitors to take away from this year’s Being Scene?

“Just really a celebration of creativity. I hope that people don’t think so much about the negative things, that’s all very important and real, but unusual minds also have a lot outside of the box to offer in terms of creativity and seeing things from those points of view, whether it’s empathy or how to look at things differently.”

You can an audio interview, conducted by Workman Arts’ Catherine Jones, with Lorette about her work here.

To hear more interviews with Being Scene artists, click here.

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