Interview with Prospectives Art Centres
Illustration: Orhan Güven
We will introduce a special non-for-profit organisation, Prospectives Art Centre, in this issue of Telve. Our host is Ms. Anne Güven. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers? What is your background and your mission in the organization.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity to share our exciting ideas with you and your readers. I am the executive director for Prospectives Art Centres ( PAC) a not-for profit organization for intellectually disabled adults. I am a registered health care professional, and have for the past eighteen months, been working and researching projects in a small art studio for the disabled. I am also the parent of a disabled adult.
Our son Orhan is a professional artist who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. We moved to Canada from Istanbul in 1990 after his diagnosis , where he was integrated into the school system as special needs. We moved to California in 2006 where he was enrolled into an art program, and there his talent flourished. He became a successful professional artist represented in several galleries. On our return back to Canada we did not find similar programs in the GTA, especially for intellectually disabled adults. Therefore we decided to begin PAC art centers, providing artists with art supplies in a studio setting, where they can produce works of art in any medium. One differentiating factor from similar not-for profit organizations is that we intend to market art work aggressively, returning earnings back to the artists thus generating extra income. Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF) in Los Angeles and Able Arts in Japan are typical organizations that operate in this manner.
Prospectives Art Centre is a very new organisation. Can you please talk about the mission of the organisation? What is your target population?
Our mission statement is : ” Creating a future of possibilities through art and the intellectually disabled.”
Despite an ever increasing population in Ontario, services for the intellectually disabled are available for those between 0-21 years of age, but then decrease when reaching 21 years of age. The services provided become basically health care orientated, giving less opportunities to adults who wish to contribute to, and be included in, the community.
Since there are no statistics available, we used data from Statistics Canada Census 2013, which indicated that Toronto has 24.3% of its population living with a disability, and approximately 24.9% have Autism Spectrum Disorder, which translates into 340,200 people with ASD. not including other intellectual disabilities.
The demand for services is ever increasing. One alarming statistic commonly shared is that one every 68 children is now diagnosed with ASD, whereas this number in 1990 was one in every 5.000.
Our approach is simple: We will reach out to our potential clients in high need areas, through contact with relevant agencies and centers, the Developmental Services of Ontario, promotional advertising, and networking. The centre will provide a working space, all art supplies, a gallery where art work will be exhibited, with the necessary security, and ease of accessibility to protect the health and safety of our clients. We will market their works through exhibitions, galleries, on line, and PAC will also act as advocates protecting rights by signing contracts with individual artists providing royalties through the sale of art work, or images reproduced on merchandise. We have also applied to Revenue Canada for charity status.
Our centre is cross cultural, race, religion, gender and nationality, fully complying with the Toronto non-discriminatory legislation.
What is your plan for the future? How do you plan to fund your organisation? Do you have a target for number of children, youth or adult to be registered to Prospectives Art Centre?
Our first studio will be a pilot and once successful our plan is to build similar centres across the GTA and Ontario.
We are currently raising funds through individual donations, crowd funding and also through grants and foundations. We have a board of 5 independent members who oversee our activities, therefore we are open to any scrutiny and public audit. We are calling on parents who have family members with intellectual disabilities, to consider contributing to our organization as we hope to become an option for disabled individuals to have access to this opportunity to produce fine art work, as an alternative employment solution.
We are currently accepting adults with intellectual disabilities 21 years of age and over. The centre will be open 5 days a week, 6 hours a day, 4 individuals at any given time. Clients may attend by the hour or by the day, as they wish, care givers are welcome. We believe this centre will be a good employment alternative compared with services available today.
What do you expect from the residents of Ontario and especially from Turkish community? How they can contribute to your activities?
Our first goal is to find a location in target areas that are highly populated, and easily accessible by the TTC, such as North York. Then isolated individuals will have a place to go, and become more involved in the community. But we are open to any suggestions. Secondly, we need funding to get this centre up and running to begin delivering much needed services so artists can work, contribute, and feel successful. Lastly we need active support by spreading the word to friends, relatives, colleagues, asking people to reach out to us for further details. We need all the support we can get from the Turkish Community and others.
If we are successful in this venture, we would like to take this model to Turkey to set up a similar organization there.
To contact us please email email@example.com leaving a name and contact information, or call 416 224 0463. You can see Orhan’s work at Amazon.com, DAC gallery.com, orhansgallery.ca, artecf.net, and Pinterest.
Thank you for being with us. We wish you and your team a successful year.