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Glowing plants and luminous trees spring up at the Ottawa Art Gallery

May 11, 2023

Sky Garden features art created during Creative Space, a weekly art workshop designed for people that carry mental illness experiences, bringing attention to May being mental health awareness month. 

OTTAWA – May 11th, 2023 – Yesterday afternoon, the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) inaugurated the group exhibition Sky Garden, featuring the works of artists who participated in Creative Space throughout the year. Creative Space is an OAG wellness initiative of weekly art workshops designed for youth and adults carrying experiences of mental illness. The program is made possible thanks to support from community partners and donors, including support from TD Bank Group. The event was attended by Sky Garden artists, OAG permanent collection artist and inspiration behind the works exhibited, Marie-Jeanne Musiol, as well as representatives from the OAG, the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, and TD. Sky Garden is now open and will run until June 4, 2023 bringing attention to May being mental health awareness month. 

“Mental Health Awareness Month highlights the importance of mental health and the resources available to support it. The OAG believes art is key to maintaining mental health and wellness, and with Creative Space, the Gallery is providing tools, outlets and support to facilitate healing.” 

-Alexandra Badzak, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Art Gallery 
Creative Space encourages mental health and social inclusion through free art-making workshops at OAG and online and showcases the work of participants through exhibitions like Sky Garden. For many, creating artwork collaboratively in a nurturing safe space for self-expression and connection through art contributes to a healthy sense of self.   

From left to right: Greg Stenman (Recreational Therapist, The Royal Ottawa), Abigail Kashul (OAG Gallery Educator), Alexis Boyle (OAG Curator, Community Access) and Lee Rose (Manager, Community Engagement, TD Bank Group)

Creative Space is one of the best things that could happen to people!  Not only for myself, but others too, Creative Space has been a life saver. I rekindled my interest in art and I also have something to look forward to every week. Mental Health doesn’t often come high on priority and the OAG deserves so much praise and support for partnering with the ROH on this. Thank you.” 

-Christine Watson, Sky Garden artist 

This year’s exhibition titled Sky Garden, the 6th exhibition mounted at OAG with art created by Creative Space artists, merges themes of the worldly and otherworldly. When looking closely, we can see how a small leaf is mapped with its growth and renewal.  The theme of the exhibition was inspired by an artwork in OAG’s permanent collection La Forêt radieuse (Violette et vigne) [The Radiant Forest (Violet and Vine)] (2010) by Marie-Jeanne Musiol. Her lightbox, on view in this exhibition on level 1 beside the elevator by Galerie Annexe was installed in the Studio for reference during the creation of the artworks. Musiol also visited a class to give an artist’s talk and offer feedback on creations. Her work demonstrates how the details in plants contain the cosmos. Creative Space artists used printmaking, painting, drawing and collage to build mixed media compositions in response to these ideas.  

Sky Garden is presented at the Ottawa Art Gallery, in various locations on level 0 and level 1 June 4 2023. 

More about Creative Space:  
Created in partnership with the Royal Ottawa Mental Health, and supported by TD, the demand and need for Creative Spacekeeps growing, with attendance jumping from 100 participants in 2017, to around 800 in 2022. The program also provides concrete opportunities for empowerment of indigenous, immigrant, 2SLGBTQQIA+ senior and youth communities through workshops, art projects and exhibitions.   


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For media enquiries, please contact: 
Véronique Couillard, Officer, Media, Public and Francophone Relations, 613-291-1358   

About the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG)  
The Ottawa Art Gallery is situated on traditional Anishinābe Aki and is Ottawa’s municipal art gallery and cultural hub. Located in Ottawa’s downtown core, the expanded Gallery is a contemporary luminous cube designed by KPMB Architects and Régis Côté et associés.   

10 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6E2 
613-233-8699 |  

OAG receives funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the City of Ottawa. 



OAG is Open from 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday | from 10 AM to 9 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission is always FREE.