Why we are unique

We are a therapeutic haven for people living with mental health illnesses and addiction

Our classes and workshops are overseen by occupational therapists who ensure a safe and non-judgmental environment. As well, they connect and involve clients with their own recovery by setting goals that give hope for the future. During the classes our professional staff may help with things such as interpersonal issues and anxiety management, abilities that help clients integrate into the larger community.

It is more than a leisure program; it is a way of healing

Studies show a link between mental illness and creativity.  During our classes, participants can become more outgoing at their own pace and make friendships.  Our classes give structure to the day – clients get out of the house because they enjoy The Art Studios and know someone cares when they don’t come.  The warm and caring classroom setting is quickly familiar to everyone, reducing anxiety.   And developing art skills builds confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

Our members give back

We are proud to say that nearly all classes are taught by teachers and assistants who have been Art Studio clients. By volunteering and teaching, alumni rebuild their lives and further their recovery. They also are very effective role models to students who know their own challenges are understood.

Art is a life-long skill

Mental illness and addiction diagnoses present life-long struggles. By learning art skills our clients have a healthy activity they can engage in throughout their lives.  Many art activities need little equipment so cost need not be a barrier, plus learning a bit about art can open up a world of beauty and human connection to last a life-time.

Art brings you outside yourself

When our clients focus on making art they are engaging in thoughts ‘outside’ of themselves. Noticing colour and form, feeling the clay, brush, or pencil in hand helps them break away from ‘inside’ thoughts that may not be helpful. And this effect lasts longer than just while creating but helps clients see the world around them with more appreciation.

We teach more than art

Our Occupational Therapists offer Skills Development Workshops covering topics such as mindfulness, communication skills, conflict resolution and assertiveness. They also help clients put on two art sales a year. These sales are joyous, successful anti-stigma and outreach events that teach participants such things as decision-making and marketing skills and how to interact with the public.


Board of Directors

  Bev Knight, Chairperson Bev is an artist, teacher and alumni member at The Art Studios.  It was because of her passionate belief in the program that she founded the Vancouver Recovery Through Art Society.  Her love for art has been a life-long vocation. Ann Webborn, Vice Chair Occupational Therapist.  Despite being somewhat retired, Ann …

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Welcome to VRTAS

The Art Studios is a safe, respectful and accepting community where people with major mental illnesses and addiction engage with rehabilitation staff to recover and grow through art. The Studios offers free classes and workshops on painting, ceramics, printmaking and more. Currently 278 active clients, who have been referred by their medical professionals, enjoy the …

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The Art Studios

  A Brief History of The Art Studios The idea of an art studio dedicated to mental health recovery began with a group of Occupational Therapists and a Recreational Therapist enjoying an evening get-together in 1992. While discussing their working lives the therapists noted how a great many of their mental health clients were creative, …

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