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 what we've been up to!


message from michelle


Dear friends and supporters,

It has been an incredibly full year for Art Not Shame, and on behalf of our board and team, I'd like to start this note with an expression of deep gratitude. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Art Not Shame was a dream a year ago, and today it is a beautiful, emergent organization with the most incredible team of supporters.

Shame might seem like an odd focus for an organization, but we believe that shame is everywhere, and it's stopping us from being ourselves, from seeking support, and from building strong communities. We're mobilizing the power of art to speak back to shame.

What we're doing isn't new. Art-making has always been a tool to connect people, to give voice and enable expression, and to challenge the dominant narratives that say you're not good enough.

What makes us different is our belief that access to the arts is fundamental to well-being; that inclusion is an ethic and a practice; that old beliefs about who counts and who can make art have to change; and that we need multiple modes of expression that integrate mind and body to be well. 

People already know this. We are continually humbled by how people respond with warmth and enthusiasm to the simple idea that the world might be a more beautiful place if there were more art, and less shame.

This past year we've done an astounding amount of work on a shoestring budget. Below you'll find a summary of our programming and impact. Please consider supporting us through a donation to make sure we can continue this vital work.

It is an honour and a privilege. With so much love, respect, and gratitude,



 our why


Illustration by Devon Kerslake

Animation by Nik MacMillan 


our reach


Art Not Shame engaged with 350 youth across 7 different cities in Ontario, working in collaboration with schools, community organizations, and mental health advocates like and Art With Impact.


Our art-making workshops used ten different mediums.


Here's a sneak peek of some of the art-making workshops, talks, and panel discussions we delivered and attended in our first year:

The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.
— Educator, Brian Sutton-Smith



We delivered our first major pilot project with the Canadian Mental Health Association York Region and South Simcoe.

Our pilot was a 10 week art-making workshop cheekily and aptly named "Fuck Perfect."

"Fuck Perfect" provided a safe and welcoming space for participants to speak back to debilitating pressures of perfectionism through a variety of art-processes and mediums.

Participants shared their art and process with the community. 

So much heart and love was poured into our pilot. Here's a preview of what we got up to!


our pilot

Filmed by Jeremy Hannah 



I am emotional, not perfect.
I am colourful, not perfect.
I am raw, not perfect.
I am real, not perfect. 
— Emma, Fuck Perfect Workshop Participant

This group really makes me feel like I’m not only part of something, but it makes me feel like I’m taking back parts of myself that I lost due to mental illness.
— Beth, Fuck Perfect Workshop Participant


Our pilot workshop decreased stigma, increased social connections, and boosted confidence:


anonymous feedback from participants:

"The support from the facilitators was really encouraging and kept me coming back."

"This was a truly amazing experience and I loved all of you and every minute of it. Please come back!"

"I have more confidence in expressing my ideas, thoughts, and opinions."


100% of “Fuck Perfect” workshop participants reported:

  • feeling more connected to others,

  • that they were more likely to try something like this again,

  • that they felt energized or inspired as a result of their participation.


80% of “Fuck Perfect” workshop participants reported:

  • as a result of these workshops, I have new tools to use when the pressure to be perfect shows up




let's do it again!

We are thrilled to be hosting more art-making workshops in year two, settling into our very own office and workshop space in Guelph, Ontario, and continuing partnerships with other like-minded organizations and individuals to develop innovative and creative approaches to mental well-being, and to speak back to shame.

let's continue to grow!


Growth, to us, means investing in training and building organizational capacity to be able to do this work well, and to be well while doing this work. We will be:

  • partnering with LifeVoice to continue our in-house mental health training

  • expanding our understanding and implementation of accessibility related measures

  • adding to our roster of fantastic artist-facilitators, without whom we could not do this work

  • continuing to hone our creative facilitation skills through professional development and training from leaders in our field

We are currently exploring a diverse range of partnerships and projects that, once funded, will utilize creative expression to explore topics such as masculinity and shame, the LGBTQ2 youth experience, student wellness, Indigeneity, stigma and perfectionism. 

let's continue to dream!

We believe this work is vital, and that we've only really scratched the surface of what's possible for Art Not Shame. But we need help! Please consider supporting us through a donation so that we can keep on keeping on!


our goals


your role


we are a non-profit organization, and our success depends on the generous support of our donors.

The most valuable contribution is a direct donation to Art Not Shame. You can make a direct donation by cheque, e-transfer, or online payment (direct donations to Art Not shame will not be issued tax receipts; please indicate if you would like your donation to remain anonymous):

  1. Please make cheques payable to: Art Not Shame, 221 Woolwich St, Unit 8, Guelph, ON, N1H 3V4

  2. E-transfers can be sent to:

  3. Online donations can be made here:


If you require a tax receipt, you can support our fantastic workshop series with the Canadian Mental Health Association by donating online here (select Art Not Shame under "Gift Information").


our thanks

We could not have accomplished all that we have in our first year without the generous support of the following donors, volunteers, mentors, supporters, team members, and partners.

Thank you, so much, for all that you've enabled: 



Amanda Mackenzie
Angela Artelt-Evans & Neil Evans
Ashlee Cunsolo
Blake Ashforth
Blooms and Flora
Bob & Kathie Mackenzie
Brenda Ewart
Canadian Auto Preservation
Centre for Community Engaged Narrative Arts
Chris Zimmerman
Daphne Dales
David Ashforth
David Bocking
Dorian Munk
Dylan Haskell
Final Coat Inc.
Ian Jones
Jim & Mary Anne Alexander
Janet & Nino Santangelo
Jen Zigizmund & Maurizio Silvestri
Laura Smith
Lorraine York
Martin Cundy
Michelle Peek Photography
Murray Shopiro
Narinder Matharu
Nikki Belanger
Peter Drabik
Ralf Soeder
Rick LeGrow
Rico Roncali
Rob and Molly Mackenzie
Sameer Vasta
Sarah Wilmer
Shin Hung
Susie O'Brien
Talia Friedman
Teresa Armstrong
Wayne Johnston
Wesley Skjodt


Volunteers, Mentors, supporters,
Team Members, And Partners

Adena Lazowski
Ali Loney
Amanda Cipolla
April Weppler
Andrew Ekblad
Art With Impact
Blair Cameron
Carolyn Peek
Chantelle Quesnelle (Advisory Board)
Christine Briggs
Christine McCormack (Advisory Board)
Devon Kerslake Graphics
Georgia Simms (Lead facilitator, project design and implementation, strategic direction)
Grace Kehler
Jamie Ashforth (Founding Member, Board of Directors)
Jennifer Hall
Jeremy Hannah (photographer, videographer, workshop facilitation, media management)
Kate Kostandoff
Katie Major (Advisory Board)
Knowledge to Action Consulting Inc.
Life Voice
Lindsay Moore
Lisa Bellon (Advisory Board)
Liz Jackson (Founding Member, Board of Directors)
Lisa Weaver (Advisory Board)
Meaghan Miller
Michael & Seanna Hardychuk
Michele Collins
Michelle Peek (Founder, Creative Director)
Nicole Douglas
Nik MacMillan
Rob Drynan
Robyn Mulvena
Robyn Scott
Vicky Starz
Randy Peek
Ryan & Melissa Peek
Sarah Evans
Sara Wilde (graphic design, workshop facilitation, website support)
Sara Wilde Photography
Sean Peek
Shawn MacDonell
Shawna Percy
Victoria Monique Designs
Ward 1 Studios
Lisa Weldon
Zoe Warne (Advisory Board)
*All purchasers of Moody Blooms - thank you!