Staying Together

Discussion between Rachel Szwimer and Elaine Dubrovsky, volunteer co-founder of the Creative Art Program. Rachel is a 4th year medical student at McGill who has participated in the CHAP* program and is a volunteer with Hope & Cope.

What is your most rewarding experience at Hope & Cope’s Open Art Studio?

When I started the Creative Art Program with Joanne Litvack, I knew art was my passion. Here, at the Open Art Studio, I get to paint with the participants every week. The beauty of these workshops is that individuals from any background join together with the goal of self-expression. The Open Art Studio is not about having the ability to draw, but rather empowers individuals to create and imagine. One of the most beautiful part of this activity is the weekly gift of friendship and creativity that I share with the participants and that keeps us together.

What is it about art that draws people together?

Everyone who joins can connect with others over their love of art in some way or another. Participants inspire each other just by seeing someone else push their creative boundaries. Art allows people to express themselves in their artwork. They find a sense of wellness, loose themselves in imagination and creative possibilities, bond with a community of kind-hearted people on a weekly basis, and welcome others to do the same.

* McGill’s Community Health Alliance Project (CHAP): A 21-hour service internship program that allows 2nd year medical students to explore the psychosocial consequences of cancer, to see another aspect of patient care.

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