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Artists Helping Artists...Helping Artists

By Lissa Miles

Following a brain injury, subsequent coma and grueling recovery, Carla found expression through art when there was no other way to express herself.

Carla, a resident of CONNECT Langley, has been creating art for more than 20 years. She participates in Artists Helping Artists (AHA) every Monday.

"I love art for the self expression," says Carla. "I love choosing my colors, brushes and paper and expressing myself. It can be frustrating at times to try to explain myself to people verbally, but when you express yourself through art, you don't need to come up with the right words."

AHA is a supportive and accessible art studio located in Burnaby where people gather to create art.

Steve Quattrocchi, one of the founders of AHA, says Carla was one of AHA's first members and attends religiously.

"Carla is awesome. It's like the TV show Cheers when she's here, everyone knows her name."

Steve says everyone is welcome at AHA and the only stipulation is you have to be productive. To join the current 40 to 50 members, simply show up and join. Some artists bring their care aide with them, some rely on a little bit of assistance from Steve, who is a trained caregiver.

Carla describes her style as very abstract and colorful.

"Not only does my art give me great enjoyment, but it makes other people happy too."

Carla's ultimate goal with art is to teach children and adults with special needs.

"Hell, if I can do it, anyone can do it," laughs Carla. "Art gives me an unbelievable amount of joy. Why wouldn't I want to share that with others?"

For more information about AHA, visit www.aha-artists.ca.