About H’Art Studio

H’Art of Ottawa is a unique and innovative art studio where self-expression and a sense of place are encouraged and celebrated for people with developmental disabilities. Through the common language of art and self-expression, the artists of H’Art contribute to the community and the cultural life of Ottawa.

“H’Art of Ottawa is a very special place; I couldn’t have asked for a better location to do my alternative placement from Teachers College. The moment you walk through the studio doors you’re enveloped in inviting colours and breathtaking displays.”

Jacquie Bird

H’Art of Ottawa supports the creative development of artists with intellectual disabilities. H’Art is an innovative visual arts studio whose unique art and literacy program promotes creative and cultural experiences, self-expression and independence. The artists exhibit, promote and sell their paintings through the studio, galleries and other community venues, and online (with future plans for an online store). This provides the artists an opportunity to participate in society in a meaningful way, and contributes to the growing general public awareness that persons with disabilities can live rich, productive and fulfilling lives.

Advocating for our artists

H’Art of Ottawa was established in 2002. It is a unique and innovative visual art studio for people with developmental disabilities. H’Art Studio is inspired by a strong belief that people with a developmental disability can be productive members of our society, and that through visual art they can realize their full potential.

It has always been H’Art’s policy to advocate for our artists. Our art shows and other activities increase the community’s understanding and awareness of the issues of people with disabilities, they help to break down the barriers and recognize the value and meaningful work they do through their art.

The artists’ paintings are included in many private and corporate art collections. As part of H’Art’s social enterprise the artists also produce greeting and holiday cards, and calendars. H’Art cards have been the holiday cards of choice, for years, by many corporate and individual supporters. Proceeds from painting, card and calendar sales go directly to enhance the program and to support the studio’s revenue sharing program whereby the artists receive earned income from their painting sales.

Our curriculum

H’Art of Ottawa is a visual art studio where self-expression and a sense of place are both encouraged and celebrated. The studio provides an environment where the artists are respected and supported, and their personal growth and self-expression is nurtured and self-directed. The fifty artists that participate embrace the creative process and the results are extraordinary. The program follows an innovative approach whereby instructors facilitate the creative process of each artist, enabling them to tap into and develop their personal self-expression, independence and entrepreneurial skills. The curriculum based and holistic program is modified according to ability, and combines experiential, multi-sensory and concrete approaches. Through painting, drawing, and creative writing, the artists transform ideas, emotions and life experiences into works of art. The studio fosters a sense of belonging and participation in the community and the cultural life of Ottawa.

There are two essential components of learning at H’Art Studio: art and literacy.

  • Art:. Using art as a vehicle and through personalized facilitation and co-operative learning, participants are given the opportunity to explore their unique artistic expression.
  • Creative writing: Literacy skills are developed and reinforced in different contexts, such as group discussion, journaling and other forms of creative writing.

Program benefits and goals

H’Art Studio provides a supportive, respectful and entrepreneurial environment where the artists are given the opportunity to:

  • – Achieve artistic excellence, creative growth and develop personal expression
  • – Find a voice and a place through visual art
  • – Develop independence and self-determination
  • – Enhance their self-confidence and well-being
  • – Develop literacy and expression through art and creative writing
  • – Be a vital part of the mainstream arts community, enriching the cultural life of our community
  • – Contribute to and participate in society in a meaningful way
  • – Promote inclusiveness and community awareness regarding disability issues, to break down the barriers
  • – Foster life-long learning through art

Browse H’Art paintings

To see H’Art Studio paintings, visit the Artists pages or contact the studio for more information. (Note: Please call if you want to arrange a studio visit.)

The H’Art team

For information on the H’Art team and the H’Art Board, please visit the H’Art team page.

More information

For more information about H’Art, please peruse our News page for news and events updates, our Media page to read the latest media mentions and our Art Show page for a listing of upcoming and recent shows.

About H’Art

H’Art of Ottawa is an innovative and inclusive visual arts studio that supports and facilitates the creative practice of artists with intellectual disabilities. The studio’s unique art and literacy program fosters and promotes creative and cultural experiences, collaboration, self-expression, and self-determination. Exhibiting their work through the studio, galleries, and community venues, the artists participate in society in a meaningful way.

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