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Image provided by McMillan.

Introducing BEING: Bronson Centre art studio champions creativity by artists and writers with developmental disabilities

By Amanda Armstrong on November 22, 2017

When you step into the BEING studio at the Bronson Centre, you are immediately inspired by all the colourful works of art that adorn the walls. The artists work away at the tables, creating new works to add to their growing collection.

The studio, which began as H’Art of Ottawa in 2002, has recently rebranded itself as BEING after partnering with McMillan in “the first full charity rebrand project for their Betterful initiative,” which gives local nonprofits and charities a free face lift with a rebrand. They revealed their new image this September after a year long collaboration with McMillan to create “a new and more accurate story about who we are and why we matter.”

Photos by Amanda Armstrong

BEING is a non-profit organization based out of the Bronson Centre whose mission is “to nurture and champion creative expression from artists and writers with developmental disabilities.” The studio now hosts roughly 50 artists each week, many who have been coming to BEING for several years. They show up each week, eager to learn what theme they will be exploring this time round. They begin their day with a group discussion, after which they write in their journal, and then create a piece of art that reflects on the theme.

For the artists, creating art is not something that they consider a job, creating art is a way of being. Which lends to the organisation’s new name. “The BEING name is not only meaningful, it’s versatile and flexible and can be combined with other words for different uses,” as noted by Megan Findlay, McMillan’s creative director on the project. Their new logo is bright and colourful, inspired by the works the artists create and Pop Art. The rays, or ‘lumin’, that extend outward are symbolic of the passion and inspiration that the artists have for the creation of their work.

Photos by Amanda Armstrong

BEING partners with a variety of different artists in the community and participates in several solo and group shows and exhibitions of their work. Just this past June, several of BEING’s artists participated in Trophy, a pop-up Storytelling Village in the ByWard Market.

The money BEING received from works sold helps to buy art supplies and fund the ins and outs of the organisation. The artists also receive a percentage of the annual overall art sales from the studio.


Applications for McMillan’s Betterful 2018 initiative are open and the deadline for submissions is December 1. The winner of the 2018 initiative will be announced the week of January 15 2018.