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Art as therapy in the works of local teen (6 photos)

Katelynn Adams made art her career when she found the creative process therapeutic after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression in Grade 9

If Katelynn Adams’ artwork and community involvement are any indication, then the kids really are alright.

At 18 years old, Adams has chosen to pursue a career in curating art after volunteering at Quest Art School and Gallery inspired by curator Virginia Eichhorn.

Adams has also mounted her work at the gallery at Quest, displayed her artistry in King Street business windows, a light-box on King Street and created art programs for her co-workers at a local grocery store.

“My artwork mostly focuses around mental health, which is an important subject for me because I struggle with my own mental health,” says Adams.

“When I was in Grade 9, I was diagnosed with depression and severe anxiety,” explains Adams who started doing art as a hobby.

Adams gives credit to her Grade 9 art teacher — Annette Atkinson from St. Theresa’s Catholic High School — who helped her see that everyone can be an artist, which can seem daunting when confronted with the extraordinary talents on display through social media platforms.

“Art is very therapeutic. I can express my emotions onto a canvas or onto a page,” says Adams, explaining that art helps to alleviate her anxiety and depression.

Atkinson also helped Adams see art as a career rather than a hobby. Through finding her own style, Adams developed a good foundation, and has since expanded on her work incorporating more of her own unique ideas.

“Art helps me see that I am not my mental health issues. I can work with it and acknowledge it.”

Speaking of her artwork, Adams says she provides representations of how she can enjoy life.

“I want to show the joy through the hard times of COVID,” says Adams.

To that end, Adams started volunteering at Quest in September. She set up various exhibitions, mounted her own artwork.

“It was really cool to have my art displayed on a wall professionally,” says Adams, noting the process taught her there were multiple ways of expressing herself.

Until she started at Quest, Adams wasn’t sure what field she wanted to pursue. At Quest she sat in on a meeting with a few curators, and understood Eichhorn’s process and curating in a new way.

“I really enjoyed working in a gallery,” says Adams, who plans to pursue a career as a curator after completing her Bachelor of Arts at Nipissing University in North Bay where she’s headed in the fall.

At Quest, Adams also helped teach art lessons, and loved working in the community in that space.

She took what she learned there and transferred that to her workplace where she has organized a few art nights for her co-workers for Mother’s Day and for Father’s Day.

“We had a great turnout. People really enjoyed it,” says Adams who is planning another art night in August.

While the young artist started painting windows downtown Midland in Christmas 2020, Adams has since expanded on her list of local businesses that love her work and she plans to always come back to decorate the windows of Midland’s business.

Of her success so far, Adams is very humble.

“It’s fantastic!”

To see more of her work, follow her on Instagram @kitkat_sketchess.