By Lethbridge Herald on December 21, 2020.
An art program at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, meant to help give purpose and meet some of the smaller basic needs of participants, has led to two of the program’s artists being housed just days before Christmas.
“It feels a little bit like a Christmas miracle,” said Tannis Chartier, Resilient Art YQL program co-ordinator.
“It’s crazy that something that was just a tiny little idea — some art work, maybe get these guys some money for some winter clothes — turned into housing. It seems so much more than I could have dreamed of for them.”
The two artists, Lou Borutski and Richard Woslyng, who had been living at the city’s homeless shelter, helped create the art for a colouring book. Four hundred copies were printed and as of last week had officially sold out, raising more than enough money to start the two out with rent for each of them in a northside apartment building, along with providing for household items and other needs to get them back on their feet.
“I feel ecstatic. It’s almost like a dream come true,” said Borutski.
“It just goes to show that miracles can happen, if you persevere and push on you can make something happen.”
Both the newly housed artists said they were looking forward to move on in life and to be able to access the supports needed to help do that.
“It’s a little place, but it’s a start to get somewhere else, to get going again,” said Woslyng.
“Tannis has been an incredible help, so has everybody else at the soup kitchen, but Tannis has gone well above and beyond what she needed to do or had to do. I can’t say anything more about her, she’s damn good people.”
Chartier, a recreation therapy student at the college, comes from a place where she can relate to those needing the support of others.
“I’ve got my own issues, I’ve got some mental health stuff in my life. That God could use me in all my brokenness to do something like this, it’s really heartwarming.”
The Resilient Art YQL program is on hiatus due to current COVID-19 health measures, but is hoped to be back up and running when restrictions are relaxed. And while the colouring book is officially sold out, a small number of reserve copies were still available as of Monday.
More information on the program and its work can be found at their Facebook page.
Follow @IMartensHerald on Twitter