Everything offers an opportunity. I live by that principle and it leads me to many interesting places. A man spoke in church one day about Creative Spirit East, a professional organization of artists who live with disabilities. They were opening a new gallery in Halifax. I spoke to him after and was invited to Veith House in the north end where the gallery was to be located. A door opened to a world of possibilities for my daughter at that moment.

"A door opened to a world of possibilities for my daughter at that moment."

Michael Seary is a retired school art teacher who has devoted his senior years to creating opportunities for people to create art, sell and buy art, look at art, and connect with the world around them through art.

“We are all disabled," he says, referring to our prejudices and dislikes, our temperaments and our stations in life. “And art enables us. It enables us to communicate who we are and what we see. Art is for everyone.”

"Art...enables us to communicate who we are and what we see."

As director of the Veith Street Gallery and Studio, Michael has enabled many with an interest in art to participate in various ways.  There are six rooms, plus hallways, filled with art from the 60 members, as well as a studio where artists can work. A newer satellite gallery is located in the pedway at Alderney Landing - the Pedway Gallery. The art is regularly displayed in various venues throughout the city.

My daughter, who has always loved to draw and paint, showed and sold many pieces at both galleries. Then the gallery helped her to mount a show at the Ballroom Gallery where she showed 111 pieces, many of which she sold. Following that, and with the gallery’s assistance, she had two successful shows at the Foxy Moon Gallery. Her art has traveled with Veith Street Gallery exhibits to numerous conferences as well as a national gallery in Toronto.

Michael Seary has opened a publishing business and he published my daughter’s first book of  poetry and sketches.

I have also gained valuable experience as a volunteer and board member. I have begun to paint with the encouragement of the gallery's staff. About 60 per cent of the member artists live with the challenges of mental illness and so I have made many wonderful friends who have supported us through difficult times. We have supported them as well.

Veith Street Gallery and Studio

3115 Veith Street in north end Halfax.

Hours: Tuesday,  Wednesday and Thursday from 11a.m.-4 p.m.

Phone 446-6010.

The curator is Mike McCarty.

The Pedway is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.  They can be contacted through the Veith St. Gallery.   New shows are announced in the Coast.  Visitors and volunteers are always welcome.

Veith St. Gallery is a non-profit organization, funded in part by United Way, and always in need of help.  This is one of the best organizations in Nova Scotia for welcoming people with disabilities into the world of work and leisure and connecting them to their community.

Veith Street Gallery is not yet wheelchair accessible but artists in wheelchairs receive home visits.

About Sheila Morrison

Sheila is an accomplished freelance/creative writer, community volunteer, and public speaker. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The mother of an adult daughter who lives with mental illness, Sheila is a passionate advocate for mental health initiatives which respect and support individuals and families. Sheila calls her daughter her hero.