Creative Arts

This page is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating some of the visual arts and creative writing created by our community.  Most of these pieces have been created during our Wednesday evening creative arts programs.  We’ve enjoyed building a safe place for self expression, creativity, relationships and a sense of home, where every voice matters.  Enjoy!

Card-making in Community!

Card-making for birthdays, holidays, and other celebrations, has become a way for us to spend time together in community, be creative and unique, and make cards for our friends and family!












“low end” by Adam Morris











Community Garden Markers

This is our second year growing a small community garden with Sanctuary London. Recently, we had a lot of fun coming together after our Wednesday supper and painting garden markers for this summer’s vegetables and herbs!

Garden Markers









Dark and Stormy Night by Derek G.

The night reminds me of the ocean. It makes me think of being on a boat, with the waves rocking, the dark water, and rain falling. It’s thundering and lightning. You can barely see the boat because of how dark it is. The air feels cold and wet because of the rain. The wind makes it hard to steer the boat. The wind smells of wildlife and when the storm passes,
it smells like a new morning. I hope I will live through this storm. I hope I will hear peace and quiet soon. I hope I will see my boat in one piece, just like I hope my family can be put back together again.

“Untitled” by Gil Clelland


 What I See In This Painting by Mike F.
(written following our class discussion on “ekphrasis,” by which a literary piece (poem, story, etc.) is created to intellectually or emotionally engage and respond to visual art).

Imagination. It is a beautiful thing. I would like to envision myself actually in the painting, but I am finding  it hard to focus in that way. I’m a bird or a hawk flying, circling, continuously searching for its prey or dinner. Better yet I am the elk or fawn cautiously on the alert of its attacker. I could even be a man on snowshoes or snowmobile, simply being in the amazing presence of this beautiful mountainside and forestry.

See, I’ve always loved the mountains, but have never been outside of Ontario to visit one. So actually putting myself in this piece of art is very hard. However, I can say this if I was in it. There are countless things I would love to do. Such as ice fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, or actually climbing the treacherous mountaintop just to push myself to my full potential. See I am a Leo. And Leo’s love a challenge. I would really like to climb to the top of that mountain and put a mark. My mark. That sense of accomplishment is something I strive for.

I see a similar abstract while I’m looking at the painting itself. I also wonder what kind of wildlife lives there. Wondering if they are able to survive in the snowy atmosphere. I’m sure they’d have to find a way, just like in my own life. No matter how hard my life is or how rough it seems to be, I always find a way just to keep things simple. Enjoy each day as if it was my last. Put my best foot forward and smile.

I wonder sometimes if wildlife has feelings like us. What would they say? Hum, I guess that’s just my one perspective of many others that will soon come. That can help me with many other things I struggle with, like patience… Very hard for me to change my so-familiar fear. Fear to change my opinion, my train of so-called thought pattern. I know I can succeed with help from up above. I look at this picture. Inspired by hope. I also remember as a little boy tobogganing down huge hills just outside of Toronto. A sense of joy. Thanks.

“Organic Confusion” by Eithne


After The Storm by Benjamin

The service is over and I leave the church.
My mind is awash with fresh air.

My lungs are now eager for some,
yet my body is taut with anticipation.
I heard the loud thunder during the sermon
I knew that it had not eminated from a man’s voice.
I had put on my overboots, so timid had I been.
Out of the edifice, down the ramp my feet plodded. Dryly.
My eyes floated skywards.
The sun was still in our own hemisphere, though hidden by…
Clouds! And such clouds!
As if Michelangelo were painting for God!
A multi-layered symphony of black, grey, orange, blue.
The orange was the catalyst.
It set off the dark colors
The beauty bled all over me.
I relaxed
I inhaled
And its divinity overwhelmed me.

Taking It On The Road!

Last year, in November 2012, we celebrated Sanctuary London and Sanctuary Toronto at North Park Community Church for EnRoute’s The Hour That Changes The World. Our Creative Arts classes from our Wednesday night drop-in showcased their writing and art talent by displaying their paintings around the room, and by reading their poems and stories on stage in front of a large audience. This celebration focused on the theme “Every Voice Matters.” With our Creative Arts participation and Greg Paul’s inspiring words, this evening emphasized how much we all need a safe place to have a voice and be heard, to share our stories, and to engage with one another in discovering our larger community story. Every voice matters, and as we are given a safe place to express ourselves, we begin to know that we matter, we belong, and we are loved.

Click here for photos of art work and readings on stage by our Creative Arts participants!
(*with photo credit given to North Park Community Church)

“Love” by the Sanctuary Visual Arts Class

A gift from Daddy  by Gary

A warm sunny day in the forest.
I follow a narrow path.
My bare feet fall softly, gently.
The quiet noise of the forest around me.
A head pops up from behind a bush.
Sudden stop, still.
We stare.
Two statues.
White marks of youth cover the deer’s sides.
The deer steps from behind the bush,
where it was feeding, head down.
I have a full view of its beauty.
Frozen in curiosity and wonder.
First time this close to a deer
First time this close to a human
I can’t stay
I step off
walking gently
not wanting to startle my new friend
who bounds off to tell his friends.

The Creative Writing Class Speaks Out on Writing and Creativity
(From a combined postcard project by Eric, Derek, Mike F., Anthony, Benjamin, Olive, and more)

Be present in the moment. Pay attention to the world around you. Write everyday. Carry a notebook with you. Let your words be prayers. Listen to someone else’s story. Let your creation and God’s creation be one. Let your love pour into your writing.

To get something out of it, put yourself into it. ~Benjamin

It’s important to put your thoughts down on paper. Write what’s important to you. Write your feelings because writing can be pretty much anything! Write many different stories about what you want to say. Express yourself. Show your creativity. ~Derek

Trust your life and your words, instincts, heart and head. There is something to learn and achieve, so train for it everyday. This is your task. I believe in you, my family and friends. If you’re ever lost, look to the stars and what you know in nature. ~Anthony

Stop holding back. ~Eric T.

Words are tempermental. Check spelling and sytax. Words are powerful. Use them wisely. Words are precious. Use them sparingly. Words are beautiful. Use them lovingly. ~Benjamin

For me, writing is a reflection of what I keep inside. Stories that fail to pass my lips. Stories that rage beneath my chest. Stories that are the reason for a heart to beat. Stories of things I cannot keep. ~Eric

This might not work for you, but it works for me. To make sure I have… good thoughts, good works, and good deeds. Keep smiling and maintain your sense of humour. ~Olive

Hello my name is Michael, and I love poetry. I started when I was around eight or so. When I first started, I thought I was just rhyming, but as I got older and my love for poetry became more to heart, these are some of the things that inspired me: Writing about my bike ride. Walking down by the river (my favourite place in the world). And this one is very key: writing from the heart. I find it can speak very powerfully and can be tuned in many differents ways (like a piano). ~Mike F.

Share your story. Share what you’re going through. When you write about your struggles, others might understand you better, or they might have the same struggle. You can make a connection with someone through your writing. Sharing your story gives you a voice so you can be heard. ~Derek

Trust your pen. It will be your guide. Especially when you are stumped. Just touch that pen to paper, and go with the flow. Do not have a direction or ending in mind. You may be surprised where the words will take you!

Get out of your normal spaces! Write in an environment that enhances the feelings you want to portray.

Dear young poet: welcome to the fine world of poetry. I’ve loved poetry for many years and reasons. I’m not sure what really got me started. I think I was inspired by its many shapes and forms… I use my poetry writing to reflect on some of my struggles. Life is a journey and I am glad that poetry is there to help soothe some of my hurts. Just trying to live a simple life, when in  reality, it is not. Good luck and I love you. ~Mike F.

Words come from the imagination. Imagination comes from dreams. Dreams come from God. And every voice matters. Even yours. Let words give you freedom.

“Desolation” by Mike R.

Desolation and Surrender by Mike R.
(Note: this is the artist’s written response to his painting “Desolation” above)

A feeling of mixed emotions seems to be my struggle. One minute I feel I have overcome the tragedy in my life and can move on, until a few moments later I’m hit with uncontrollable emotions of grief and sadness. It goes on like this for days. I am up and down, never on an even-par margin. I don’t know how to begin to move past this point in my life. It’s uncomfortable, cold, and numb, and seems to go on forever and ever.

I cry out to God asking him to explain to me just a little something, some clue of what is going on with me. “Did I do something to offend you God?” I ask. But I get no response. I don’t quit. I still yell out to God. “Why! Why! Why am I here in this place of desolation?” I can’t win this battle. I surrender to this place of desolation.

Only after I surrender, do I start to see and feel a certain beauty in this place. A place where you can’t help but feel God is working away at things. Could he be working on me? Rebuilding me? Chipping off some old debris and making me stronger with some heart changes along the way? Maybe to prepare me for another chapter in my life that’s yet to come… yet to come from this place of desolation.

“HOPE” by Eithne

My Friends Keep Me Alive by Mike F.

When I was in need of forgiveness many times and for many different reasons, my friends were there.
When I was weary and unable to see, my friends were there.
When I was lost and struggling to see things clearly, my friends were there to help me see a brighter picture.
Oh and by the way I am an addict. When I was in need of a supply, my friends were there.
When I needed to eat, my friends were there. When I needed shelter, my friends were there.
And sometimes, when I needed a friend to vent to, or just hang out, my friends were there.

But you know what gets me? I hope my friends know that I’m thankful for the times
that they needed me  just to be a friend to them.
I cherish my friends, because I know they’re hard to come by.
So for all the times I think I’ve forgotten to say so, thanks for being my friend.

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