Artwork by: Ryan Monteith
How I Got Here
Mental Health issues in our community and in our society, has touched all of our lives in one form or another. While there are many who champion the cause, there is, and always will be a need for more services to support this area of growth. I believe that freedom of expression, in any form is extremely important and as such, plugging ones creative outlet can have tragic consequences – that is how Artists in Momentum was born. For me, the trials of mental health hit very close to home. I lost my brother, an incomplete artist, in his early twenties to the insidious effects of mental health. And I stood on the sidelines, helpless, as my mother's moods swung dangerously on an unstable mental see saw. Stigmas was and continues to be rampant, and while I couldn't do anything then, I'm doing something now.
I started this with the hope that art could be a vehicle to promote self-care in the workplace and in the community. It is not about uncovering a Matisse or a Vermeer, it is about uncovering oneself, to live life to its fullest and learning how to enjoy every single day of our limited time on earth. I strive to be the change I want to see in the world. Though it is not always easy, I yearn to make this place we call home a little less judgemental, and a little more inclusive. AIM was launched to provide artists a safe space to both express themselves in their purest form and ultimately showcase their unique spirit and individuality.
Read the story of Anna's brother, Jebby Jacob and discover the work of this late artist.
Recipient of the Mississauga Arts Council's "Arts for Health" 2019 award, Anna is Chair of the Arts for Mental Health Steering Committee, Mississauga & Peel Region. She uses art as a vehicle to promote mental wellness in the community and work place. Working with several partners, she champions creativity for well-being in the work environment and community to raise the issue of mental health stigma.
"Art to me is a part of our DNA, and the journal of our human narrative. It is vital to our existence. The therapeutic value of expression through painting, sculpting, writing, dancing, and singing, is fundamental and life-sustaining. " Anna Silgardo.
A multi-disciplinary artist, her art acts as a bridge from the heart to the mind; a means of self-expression to articulate her deepest beliefs and also her sometimes "off the wall" concepts.
She engages a wide range of individuals, from children to seniors; she encourages the manifestation of their creative impulse through self-reflection. "It was the process our children went through with Anna creating their masterpieces. Anna uses art as a venue to teach children something new, but most importantly encourages have fun doing it. She incorporates the elements and principles of art and techniques, while the children gain confidence and a new appreciation of art and the role it plays in the world around them. Anna often paints to music when working with them, making the children instantly comfortable and encouraging them to practice self-expression." Hon. Erin O'Toole & Rebecca O'Toole.
"Her efforts are an active ingredient in the benchmark work we are undertaking to show the Province of Ontario the practical and fiscal benefits of providing arts for mental health programming through the development and execution of an arts prescription program policy..." Mike Douglas, Executive Director, Mississauga Arts Council