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Indefinite Arts curates artsPlace exhibit featuring Canmore's Meg Ohsada

CANMORE – Canmore’s Meg Ohsada can add artist to her impressive resumé of accomplishments. The 24-year-old Special Olympian has been attending Calgary-based Indefinite Arts full time for the past year and part-time since 2015.
Meg Ohsada
Canmore’s Meg Ohsada.

CANMORE – Canmore’s Meg Ohsada can add artist to her impressive resumé of accomplishments.

The 24-year-old Special Olympian has been attending Calgary-based Indefinite Arts full time for the past year and part-time since 2015. Her artwork has already travelled with exhibits internationally and Canmore residents will have an opportunity to see it along with other featured artists from the disability arts organization on display at artsPlace until March 10.

For Meg’s mother Noriko Ohsada it is an exciting opportunity for her daughter to share her artwork with the community and see her supported in her creativity through the program in Calgary.

“At first, I didn’t know there was such a place as Indefinite Arts in Calgary, but one of the Special Olympic skaters who belongs to the centre explained how good they are,” she said. “We applied and were on the waiting list for a year.”

Meg has down syndrome and is non verbal, but has expressed herself creatively in the past through ice skating and dance. Now with the art programming each week, her mom said she is doing very well. To have an exhibit in her hometown featuring her work is very special for her, added Noriko.

Indefinite Arts is Canada’s longest running and largest disability arts organization. Its mission is to provide artistic training, creation and exhibition opportunities for people of all ages with developmental disabilities.

CEO JS Ryu also happens to be a Canmore resident and on the board of directors for artsPlace.

With Meg taking part in the weekly program and Ryu’s connection to artsPlace, he said it was a natural opportunity to bring an exhibit featuring her work to Canmore.

“We thought it was an opportunity for us to take advantage of the fact Meg is from Canmore, but also take advantage of the incredibly beautiful space in artsPlace to display our artists’ works,” he said.

“I know artsPlace as an organization is quite keen on different opportunities to support artists and individuals with disabilities. This was a great alignment of goals I also think for our organization’s interests.

“It is a very important venue to be a part of and to be in Canmore. As we all know, Canmore and its residents have a very strong appreciation of the arts.”

Ryu said Meg is a great example of someone who pursues excellence in life. Whether it is skating, dancing or her artwork, he said she is a role model for everyone.

“What we see in Meg is somebody who absolutely shatters any misconceptions we may have for people living with a developmental disability,” Ryu said.

At the Indefinite Arts centre in Calgary, Meg and 300 others in the program have access to different formats to express their artwork, as well as artists and mentors in those disciplines. The organization’s strategic vision released in February 2018 sets out to become the “Banff Centre artists living with disabilities.”

Each artist is self-directed in their pursuits, with support for their creativity and innovation through opportunities to try different types of art or artistic activities.

Noriko said her daughter has tried a variety of art forms and put together an impressive portfolio of work for display.

An avid quilter and someone who enjoys painting, it has been rewarding for the mother and daughter pair to explore their creativity together.

Go to artsplacecanmore.com for more information on the exhibit and gallery opening hours.


Tanya Foubert

About the Author: Tanya Foubert

Tanya Foubert started as a news reporter at the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2006. She won the Canadian Community Newspaper Award for best news story for her coverage of the 2013 flood. In December 2018, she became editor of the Outlook.
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