“I can do anything I want to.” Art helps Jessica find her path in life.

Jessica’s love of art began when she was a participant at a program supported by Winnipeggers’ donations to United Way.

Today, she is employed by the same program, earning a living by making and teaching art to other young Winnipeggers.

Jessica finds her path through art.

“Once Jessie got here, she really found her path in life.”

It’s a chance for kids to express themselves in a safe, supportive environment during the critical hours after school. See how Jessica’s passion for community is her guiding light.

“A place of safety and inspiration.”

United Way volunteer Angie Bruce recently toured the Marlene Street Resource Centre, and was inspired by what she saw there. Or, rather, what she didn’t see.

“After the United Way visit I really felt like it was a space that needed some support and life.

The space that they were working with did not support the growth of the children and families that were accessing their services.

I quickly touched based with a charity, the Dream Room Project, which is close to my heart and asked that they come and make the space a place of safety and inspiration.”

Here are the lovely, inspirational results of people coming together to make a difference right here in Winnipeg.

Hope at Marlene Street Resource Centre.

The art of our community – on display at United Way of Winnipeg

Art has the power to heal, energize, and bring people together. Art creates dialogue and gives voice; empowers and inspires.

For all these reason and more, art factors into much of United Way’s work. The Art of Community is a new exhibit on display in United Way of Winnipeg’s innovative main floor space at 580 Main Street.

It showcases the many ways art is helping Winnipeggers change their lives by giving meaning, motivation, a source of price, achievement and self-expression; as well as a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

In many cases, art provides a medium for Winnipeggers to pay forward the support they’ve received. In every case, it is a gift made possible through your support for United Way. The exhibit is free and open to the public weekdays from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

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Street Life: One Artist’s Celebration of Safe Housing

Winnipeg artist Kevin Anderson.A journey through the streets and abandoned lots of the Main Street neighbourhood where Ojibway artist Kevin Anderson lived an survived for almost a decade as a homeless individual yields a powerful look at homelessness in Winnipeg.

Main Street’s Edge Gallery is hosting Anderson’s homelessness awareness and education initiative Street Life, a series of drawings “carefully, without blame…capturing images of life in our city as a member in the ‘Unseen Community’.”

Work from Winnipeg artist Kevin Anderson.

Anderson’s “painfully accurate memories… express the isolation, loss and trauma homeless individuals and families face every day.” Just sixteen months ago, the artist was without a home.

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Now he faces new challenges, learning to live in a home and celebrating his longest period of safe housing.

Work from Winnipeg artist Kevin Anderson.

Kevin’s experience is but a single example highlighting the issue of homelessness in Winnipeg, and is why under the leadership of United Way’s Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, a Community Task Force to End Homelessness was established earlier this year.

The Task Force is developing a 10 year plan to end homelessness in our city. While it is easier to build another shelter, stock up the food bank and add another line to the soup kitchen, other cities have shown results when they change their mindset from managing homelessness – to ending it.  These cities have developed plans that unite government, non-profit and private sector efforts toward that goal.

The Edge Gallery shares space with Red Road Lodge, and reflects the commitment of Lodge owner Richard Walls to art as a vehicle for recovery from homelessness, addiction and mental illness. All images © Kevin Anderson.

John Coleshaw Sr. ‘Art Giveaway by Donation’: great art for a great city!

Abstract art by John Coleshaw Sr.

Abstract art by John Coleshaw Sr.

John Coleshaw Sr. is a prolific, 80 year-old artist from Regina. His abstract work has been described as a vibrant, colourful expression of “a gentle and generous soul.”

And now some of this lovely work can be yours! All it takes is a donation towards creating opportunities for success in your city.

Mr. Coleshaw’s family – long time donors to United Way of Winnipeg – are hosting an ‘Art Giveaway by Donation’ share-raiser, where you can come select a piece of artwork for the cost of a sealed envelope donation payable to United Way of Winnipeg.

Head on down to Joe Black’s to participate in this creative, generous fundraising effort. Your walls will thank you!*

Monday, April 30th 7 pm at Joe Black Coffee Bar, 2037 Portage Avenue.

*And speaking of thank you: a huge thanks to Mr. Coleshaw & the Coleshaw-Echols family for organizing this fundraiser. May your fundraising creativity be an inspiration!

“Focusing the Frame” photography opening at United Way, Thursday, Nov 24 at 5pm.

Focusing the Frame photography show. project will have an exhibit of photographs from participants in the Housing First project, a project that provides services and housing to people experiencing serious mental health issues and homelessness.

These photos explore and document their experience in the project. Participants were given digital cameras and supported by peer mentors to take photos and write about them. This enabled participants to report on their experience in a variety of ways.

“Focusing the Frame” gives participants of the At Home/Chez Soi project a forum to share with others their knowledge and experience of being homeless and then being housed; and helps them show and teach us, through pictures and words, what their housing means to them.

United Way’s Atrium will be the venue for this two week showing, beginning with the Opening Reception on Thursday, November 24th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome!