Tapestry

People with disabilities use the hands of others to create art

The group is called Artists Without Barriers. It exists to allow people with communication or mobility ​disabilities​ to create art. ​
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      The group is called Artists Without Barriers. It exists to allow people with communication or mobility-related ​disabilities​ to create art. ​

      I'll direct to the best of my ability to tell the scribe where I want everything to go and what colours I want to use. And he does his best to follow my direction. (How close is the final painting to what you envision in your imagination?)  Almost exact. - Amanda Maltais, artist

      ​​Each person with a disability is paired with a volunteer, called a scribe. ​The scribes, mostly art students, are there to serve their partner's artistic vision. They cannot add anything - nor subtract. Their job: to create the art that's being described to them by the artist.  

      CBC producer Frank Faulk captured the creative mind-meld of artist Christine Rowntree and her scribe Montina Hussey; and Amanda Maltais and scribe John Holland. They meet twice a week at the 519 Church Street Community Centre in downtown Toronto and the West Toronto Diabetes Education Centre in Etobicoke.

      Few shots from Artists without Barriers weekly meet in downtown Toronto. 0:32

      Artist Amanda Maltais says that an effective scribe has "to be a good listener, a good communicator, and (have) the patience to sit with someone."  She says that her scribe John Holland has all three traits. Holland's response: "I just feel lucky I'm able to assist in the creation of her art."

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