MacLaren Access Art is beginning to take shape!

Feb 26, 2021

Kate Schneider and John Hartman

Installation view of Erika DeFreitas: everything she inspires remains, belongs to light, MacLaren Art Centre, 2020. Photo: Andre Beneteau

Knowing through making

With generous support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, our programming, tours and exhibition-related interpretive tools are beginning to take shape for MacLaren Access Art!

One of our longstanding traditions at the Gallery is presenting visual art workshops that encourage creativity and reflection on our exhibitions, and MacLaren Access Art is no exception! We’re excited to offer everyone who participates in MacLaren Access Art a place in our new art-making workshops, which are designed for participants who are partially sighted and blind, hard of hearing and deaf, and who are living with intellectual and physical disabilities. Developed by registered art therapist Lisa Nackan, they take inspiration from Erika DeFreitas’ exhibition everything she inspires remains, belongs to light.

But these programs are not just fun, creative outlets. They offer an opportunity for deeper understanding and engagement with the themes presented in the exhibition through artistic expression

One size doesn’t fit all

Understanding that everyone’s needs are different and nuanced, these programs include flexible guidelines and materials that can be used in many different ways, encouraging art-making that supports the skills and abilities of participants.

Example artworks created for MacLaren Access Art by regional artist and art therapist Lisa Nackan

In Development

One of the programs in development draws on Erika’s very strongly may be sincerely fainting, an ongoing series of 4”x6” collages featuring the hands of Black women throughout art history. One hundred of these collages are on display, and they encourage conversations about the value of Black women’s artistic labour, identity, gesture and documentation.

Inspired by this artwork, Lisa Nackan has developed a collage tactile program that favours creating compositions through touch rather than sight, while reflecting on personal identity, the power that gestures can have, translation and community.

About Lisa Nackan

Lisa Nackan is a compassionate, intuitive, and insightful clinician who specializes in art therapy and psychotherapy for children and adults. Lisa has worked with the MacLaren for several years on programs like Tuesday Morning Art Explorers, in which she leads art workshops for guests from CampHill and Empower Simcoe. Recently, Lisa has also begun leading W-Edge, our virtual Wednesday afternoon drop-in art programme for high school aged youth. Both of these programs return year after year to the Gallery by popular demand.

In her private practice as an art therapist, Lisa has years of experience designing and leading visual art programs for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities. Her approach is uniquely gentle and grounded in a strength-based, trauma-informed framework. She understands the

significance of developing a strong, safe, and supportive therapeutic relationship with her clients, which allows them to gain insight, find relief from emotional distress, and live their lives with intention and meaning. Her training includes CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy), DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy), Attachment- based interventions, Narrative Therapy, Trauma Therapy, Writing as Therapy, and more. She is committed to ongoing professional development and collaboration with other health care professionals, and passionately presents her work at conferences and workshops locally and abroad. Professional affiliations include CRPO (College of Registered Psychotherapists) and CATA (Canadian Art Therapy Association).