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There’s a lot of studies that suggest that creating art is great for your mental health. We truly believe it! Creating something with your hands is very satisfying. In most cases, it can relieve stress, develop your creativity, boost your self-esteem and offer a sense of accomplishment. It’s also fun!

For those of you who have been following my art career, you’ll know that I’ve done many large scale projects. Like the time I painted and sold 200 pieces in six months and gave all the money to charity in the memory of my sister. It was a special project that I will remember forever. 

I’ve also done many projects with students over the years. I like how the kids get involved and how it introduces them to the art world at a younger age. Art is not for everyone, but I always encounter a few students during my art projects that fall in love with it and want to continue creating afterwards. Mission accomplished! One of those students is Katie. Here’s a glimpse of her mom’s email I received last year. My daughter, Katie, was first in awe of your art when you visited Wee College about 4 years ago and you painted with the kids. But it was last year that she decided to start painting to deal with anxiety (she came up with this idea on her own) after seeking counseling at Atlantic Wellness Community Center. She has been asking repeatedly to visit your studio and possibly have the chance to paint with you. She has always refused to go to any type of art classes and prefers to do everything at home (this comes back to her anxiety and her comfort zone of home) so the thought of her wanting this experience was very exciting to us.

This email truly made my day. How cool is it to have the chance to influence a young person like this? I really feel blessed and grateful that I’m able to do this for her. Katie came over for a visit during the holidays and we have plans to paint together during her second visit. 

Katie’s story is one of many great stories behind the work of the Atlantic Wellness Community Center, which offers free mental health counseling to our youth in the greater Moncton area. They were our charity of choice for the last FUSION event in Moncton this past fall.  

Going back to the idea of thinking big, when we agreed to partner up with the Atlantic Wellness for FUSION, I wanted to do something special to involve our young artistic generation and spread the word about the cause. I always had the idea to build a massive dress for a stage performance. I debated long and hard on how I could involve students. I landed on the idea to have 300 kids paint small 6x6 artworks and create this massive collage of artworks individually glued on the dress. As the saying goes, it’s always the smaller pieces that make the bigger picture! At 20 feet wide, this large dress built in three sections turned out to be a massive project but the outcome was amazing. I spent many hours with local students from École Antonine Maillet working on this project, teaching them about art but most importantly about the importance to give back to their communities. I received A LOT of support from two amazing teachers; Gabriel LeBlanc and Diane Fergusson.

The project was a true success! The final product was stunning on stage and young singer Alexie Gildart had the privilege to perform standing inside the dress in front of over 1,000 guests at the last FUSION show in Moncton. It was a magical moment! We would like to sincerely thank Michelina M. for her generous donation which paid for all the material for the dress, the artworks and the paint. This project wasn’t feasible without your commitment to the cause. Much love!

Matt LeBlanc

Professional Artist

Founder & Executive Director of Fusion Productions

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