Community and Joy

January 14th, 2023 – June 4th, 2023

Participants of the Abilities Centre Creative Café enjoying a program at the gallery.

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) teamed up with the Abilities
Centre in Whitby, to develop a photography project for their TR
Creative Café participants to explore personal expressions of
community and joy.

The Abilities Centre’s mandate is to provide:
“…accessible and inclusive programs and services of the highest
quality and value. Abilities Centre supports members of the
community, no matter their ability, age or background, to improve
their quality of life by positively impacting health & wellbeing, social
inclusion and economic participation.”

The TR Creative Café, is a new art centered therapeutic recreation
(TR) program that encourages creative expression as a way to build
the skills required to cope with change, express emotion, explore
values and identify creative goals and strengths. In a two-part
program with the RMG, TR Creative Café participants were asked to
take and share photographs that reflect who their community is and
what brings them joy. The resulting photographs capture a range of
favourite activities including community events, spending time with
loved ones, sports, and hobbies.

This exhibition is installed in the Thomas Bouckley Collection
corridor, where the RMG regularly highlights photographs from the
community. The Thomas Bouckley Collection, housed at the RMG, is
a collection of over 3,500 photographs that visualizes the history of
Oshawa. However, the collection lacks the stories and perspectives
of many of Oshawa’s residents.

This project is part of the RMG’s ongoing efforts to present diverse perspectives from the community. The RMG and Abilities Centre would like to express their thanks to the participants for their willingness to explore the ways photography can be used to share and express lived-experience.