“The Pandora Arts Collective Society is a caring and open community of people whose mission is to join together around the creative arts as a healing process”.
“To provide a facilitated creative arts studio space for people in the Greater Victoria region to promote wellness and health through the social and educational benefits of a free and welcoming creative arts space.”
- to educate the public by providing workshops, courses and lessons about visual arts.
- to break the isolation and improve the mental health of persons who are suffering from mental or physical disabilities by operating a drop in art for therapy program.
Who we are:
We are writers, painters, quilters, sketchers, photographers, sculptors, potters, cut-and-pasters, storytellers, dreamers, thinkers, believers, survivors, and everything in between.
Established in 2005, PACS is a grassroots non-profit organization that provides therapeutic Open Studio creative arts programs to participants who seek affordable ongoing support to help facilitate their mental or physical health process. We maintain a friendly, safe and affordable community studio space for anyone who wishes to create, as well as offering practical support and experience. Through the twice-weekly process of creating art together, participants experience the healing power of “art as therapy”, while collaborating on community and art events throughout the year. Our motto of “leave your problems at the door, just come in and create", has helped many who suffer from loneliness through isolation or insecurity, become socially confident, establish a sense of belonging, and build much needed trust. For many, coming to PACS is a way to participate in the community – we establish a bridge for mental health survivors to integrate with others and the broader community. Making art together connects participants back to themselves, to each other, and to the community. We provide a place for people who can’t get connected to the system but are ill, affordable support to long-term therapeutic needs. Our wanting to improve their mental well-being through the practice of making art helps reduce the pressure to an already stressed health system.
Today PACS is a member-driven non-profit that has helped and continues to help, many hundreds of participants to better health by offering cost effective programs. We are a unique organization in Victoria that offers an open studio to all people in the community regardless of ability, income, or other conditions which functions as a barrier to the participant. Our small but mighty organization with its’ unshakeable belief in the healing power of art helps build dignity and hope for many.
“People see us as artists first, and mental health survivors second.”
“Every time I did something simple, I felt so eager and content. One time I came really depressed but I start with something simple and I feel so good. I feel confidence, spontaneous, happy and excited.”
“At home I try and try, but here there is something calming”.
“I hadn’t done any art of note for decades though I had a University degree in the subject. After a divorce underemployment and unemployment, chronic hearing loss and other health and financial problems, I needed to tap my creative source. Pandora was just the place, the non-judgemental, accepting everyone, positive environment really works for me.”
“When I first started painting it was really hard. My illness made it disturbing and challenging to paint. I’ve been able to work through it and now I’m able to create art in a meditative state, Pandora Arts has provided a safe place for me to find my creative soul”.
Because we are a non-profit who exists primarily to service the most vulnerable in our society, we rely heavily on support/sponsorship from generous individuals, organizations and government to continue with our mission, vision and purpose of providing excellent and much needed services and programs for overall mental and physical wellness. Please won't you consider joining us today, or making a donation to help us help those who need art in their lives for the joy it brings the.
Twice a year we hold gallery shows, not to mention other public events to showcase the beautiful work from our participants - have a look at some of it here on our page, or click on the headline and visit our website.