“Art for Everyone”

Halifax’s Veith Street Gallery Studio Association is an organization that fosters artists with disabilities and advocates “art for everyone”. Guest contributor Christopher Jackson shares about his extensive involvement with the organization, including advancing his artistic skills, recreating the Gallery’s website and founding the Creative Spirits Photographers club.

Screenshot of Veith Street Gallery Studio Association website
Designed by Christopher Jackson

 by Christopher Jackson

In August of 2006, I bought my first digital camera and began my digital photography journey. By late fall 2007, I was looking for an avenue to showcase/ sell my works.  One day, at Team Work Cooperative/Workbridge, I was talking with one of the job facilitators about this and she mentioned the Veith Street Gallery, a place for people with disabilities to practice and showcase their art, as an option.

I looked into in the Fall of 2007, and became an official member that Winter for the 2008 year. Over the next five years, I developed my photography skills, using suggestions by our then curator, Mike McCarty, which allowed me to explore different types of photography. I was an Artist-in-Residence in 2009, where I learned portraiture techniques. In 2011 got involved in the Project Curator program and became a project curator, which I continued to do until we lost funding in March 2013. 

Of the many things  I have done for the Gallery, the thing of which I am  proudest is recreating the old Veith Street Gallery website, which can be found at: http://veithstreetgallery.weebly.com.  

This website has all the features of the old website and some new ones as well. The purpose of the website is to promote the Gallery and its programs, upcoming events and exhibits, as well as the eclectic art of the Creative Spirit East collective of artists, in its many forms.

The Creative Spirit photographers club developed from two related projects I was Project Curator of: Macabre (which was also presented as part of the Nocturne At Night festival) and Gallery of Horrors in 2011. During the selection process for these exhibits, we had members put together some of their images to preview as a slideshow and give them feedback. Shortly after the exhibit's opening (which was actually merged with a Halloween Party) I was with Mike McCarty and asked him if the Gallery had ever had a photo club. He said no but that it would be a great idea.

In February,  2012, we had our first monthly meeting. During our meetings, we present and discuss members’ photography submissions and sometimes discuss the techniques they used and how it could have been done differently.  Lately, instead of photo challenges, we have been doing photo shoots based on action heroes and are continuing with upcoming shoots within the fairytale/fantasy vein.  I am proud to say this month we are celebrating our 2nd anniversary.

The Creative Spirit East collective is a great opportunity for artistic people to practice their unique forms of art and, at the same time, meet, socialize and make new friends with other members of the collective, which currently has over 100 people. Most of these artists develop a body of work and have exhibits of their own. One such person, Hossien Faridi, will be having an exhibit of his unique paintings and sketches coming to Veith Street Gallery in March 2014.

By Hossien Faridi

If you are interested in joining or learning more about the Veith Street Gallery and its Creative Spirit Photographers club, or would like to become a Kindred Spirit to show your support, visit: