November 25, 2019 – Mississauga, ON – Recently, Mississauga Arts Council (MAC) was given a one-year, $41,900 Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) Seed grant for its new Arts for Mental Health conference that will take place in Mississauga in 2020. Local MPPs Sheref Sabawy and Natalia Kusendova made the announcement at MAC’s annual fundraising gala, The British Invasion Masquerade, on Thursday, November 23rd in front of over 400 guests including Mayor Bonnie Crombie, City Councillors, and creative industry leaders.

“The Arts for Mental Health conference has two unique objectives – to increase awareness of the efficacy of the arts in health and social care by sharing recent research and to explore the importance of the arts in health as a cost-saving opportunity for the overall healthcare system,” said Natalia Kusendova, MPP for Mississauga Centre, speaking on behalf of the Hon. Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.

MAC is receiving a $41,900 OTF grant to host an educational summit focusing on the integration of creative experiences with healthcare practices. The proposed Arts for Mental Health conference will explore the best means of integrating creative experiences through arts prescriptions into healthcare protocols, for people with forms of mental illness. MAC will be working with AIM and other arts organizations and mental health practitioners to produce the spring conference.

“Now artists in Mississauga and Peel Region can plan for improving the health and wellbeing of those with mental illnesses. We are setting forth on a winning path to wellness for a great portion of our population and providing the promise of sustainable income for many artists,” said Mike Douglas, Executive Director of the Mississauga Arts Council (MAC).

This announcement was later followed by Mississauga Arts Council’s second annual Arts for Health Award sponsored by Bell Canada. The award recognizes leaders and organizations which improve the health of individuals through arts programs and activities.

Presenting the award to Anna Silgardo, founder of Artists in Momentum (AIM), Mayor Crombie lauded the organization’s creative workshops for new Canadian women, “That have put to work the therapeutic value of creative expression, as a means for enabling them to find themselves in their new country, to regain self-confidence, reduce their anxiety and dispel depressions to ultimately achieve transformative results in every participant.”

“The effects of mental illness are malignant and damaging – it can destroy the individual and families. It knows no boundaries and barriers. We need to mobilize a defense mechanism to halt and uproot its advancement. What better means than art!” said Silgardo, as she accepted the award.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $108 million to 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.

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