Studio Members

Members of Creative Works Studio are women and men who live with persistent mental illness, including those with addictions, physical disabilities or HIV, as well as new immigrants, and people at risk of homelessness. Member referrals come from St. Michael’s Hospital and other hospitals throughout the GTA, and Good Shepherd Non-Profit Homes. The majority of our members rely on disability support payments, often living far below the poverty line. Some were once working artists, and some are totally new to the arts. Creative Works Studio is currently running at full capacity (50 members making 120 visits per month), with a wait list of 40 people and an estimated wait time of one year.

Our members have enormous courage and amazing creative talents. Here is a video about the studio as well as some biographies and testimonials.

John Seppa

I was born in 1963.  I spent my early life in Rural Settings.  I was a hyper active child easily distracted.  I came of age to no local work.  I moved around to get work in construction, forestry and surveying.  In 2001 my health both physically and mentally gave up.  I spent 4 yrs feeling very lost.  In 2006 I started drawing and in 2007 I started painting.  My life is now regaining it’s worth.

Kashfi Asgar

Kashfi Asgar came from Bangladesh in 1993.  Art was her favourite class in high school.  She now likes to explore pattern and colour in her paintings.  Painting and working with clay at the studio has boosted her self-esteem and brought her a sense of real peace.

Pierre Champagne

Pierre Champagne was born in Winnipeg Manitoba.  He studied Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  Pierre is inspired by taking the metaphysical and making it physical.

The Creative Works Studio is a venue to explore and strengthen creative, artistic and emotional questions and expressions.

Grace Cherian

Grace Cherian loved to paint as a young child. But it’s only recently that she reconnected with this childhood passion at Creative Works Studio. She has discovered that art helps her to express deeply buried feelings about painful experiences that she cannot articulate any other way. And she finds the process very cathartic.

Melanie vanDam

Melanie is inspired by other atists like herself who have a vision and express it  by using a paint brush, melting a piece of glass, bending metal and sculpting clay in a way that makes each a special piece of art.

At White Mountain Art Academy, Algoma University and OCAD, Melanie learned to carve wood, soapstone and sculpt clay. She works with many different media like metal, wood, clay and soapstone. Each of her sculptures is crafted with great skill and detail.

Presently, Melanie attends Creative Works Studio and enjoys her experiences there immensely. She is also skilled in photography and painting. Endowed with a special gift for sculpting clay angels helps her recover from her mental illness. When she first begins to carve an angel, Melanie explores the realm of her imagination which usually gives her an idea of how the angel will look. But the angel eventually takes a life of its own, each becoming a unique piece.

Melanie believes that the artists at Creative Works Studio can inspire and instruct each other, reflect upon and rediscover their inner child. They also  challenge society’s views about mental illness. Ultimately, art plays a very important role in helping people with mental health issues regain a purpose for living, build up their self-esteem and dignity.

Testimonial • June 20, 2011

Thank you so much for the opportunity to become a member at Creative Works Studio. I know it has improved my mood and anti-social ways. Thank you again. I feel free and no one can tell me any different.

Michelle Ball


One comment

  1. Thank you John for sharing your work. We love and miss you! Anita, Teemu, Otso, Ella, Topi and Anni

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