For close to twenty years H’art Centre has been helping those with a variety of disabilities discover their true potential through creative expression and positive social interaction.
Today, thanks to countless donations and generous support from the community H’art Centre has grown to include H’art School and The Box, a theatrical and musical arts initiative.
The centre holds able artist programs that bring in professional artists who also have disabilities. These professionals perform for and facilitate educational workshops with the centre’s participants who range in age from 18 to 60.
H’art Centre’s executive director Katherine Porter has been a part of this initiative since day one.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Kingston and the surrounding community?
We are so well connected. Anybody doing any social service or work for the community knows each other, so it’s pretty close-knit. Everybody is quite respectful.
Q: What is the most rewarding element of your work?
To have (participants) explain something they've created – and how important it is to them. They have a third eye. We just have to find a way to help them say what they want to say.
When they do say it – you’re just blown away. You've finally found that piece that fits, and it lets them say so much more. It’s quite wonderful.
Q: What keeps you motivated?
I look forward to seeing what this population can do. Every day is a new day. Creating opportunities for all these people to connect is good.
H’art Centre is about the sharing of stories in whatever medium you can. If you have a disability, let’s see what you can do because you still have that story. That’s why I get up every morning. I want to know every new story.
Q: What is something that you’d like people to know about H’art Centre?
It came from the need to help those who have less, have more. People with disabilities are valued as actors, performers, painters and there is a generation of young people who are interested in that - and I am excited. It’s an original piece of art itself.