The Kutenai Art Therapy Institute has been providing art-making opportunities for the local community for over 20 years in alignment with our experience that the expressive arts contribute therapeutically to both individual and community health.

The Kutenai Art Therapy Institute offers art therapy services to children and teen groups, parent groups, women’s groups, special needs youth, “exceptional” artist groups, and hosts regular Open Studios for the community, both within the Institute itself and in conjunction with the Salvation Army branch in Nelson. The Columbia Basin Trust has generously given KATI grants for professional art therapy staffing at the Open Studios and the Arts-Based Environmental Citizenship Education program.

Since the Institute’s inception, KATI has been funded to work with families, and to give support to parents, adolescents and children by the Ministry of Child and Family Development.

Open Studios

Photo by Kate Leppard

Photo by Kate Leppard

KATI currently offers free weekly Open Studios year-round both at the Institute and at the local Salvation Army (three times a week), facilitated by a professional art therapist and student interns. Through a collaboration with Nelson Community Services, the Street Culture Collaborative, and the Salvation Army these Open Studios have been made possible with a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust. These Open Studios run year-round. This current project has been very successful, with 20 to 30 participants at each session, and sometimes more, and often receive referrals from child and youth workers. Participants and sponsors speak of the value of the Open Studios to the community. Here is a letter of support written by a Nelson street outreach worker:

The classes are held in a space that is comfortable and familiar to the participants, as many of them access this space in the morning for food services. Beyond the physical space, Kate (the professional art therapist and a KATI graduate) has fostered an environment of safety, inclusion, and therapeutic calm and focus. I have noticed a change in my clients when they are engaged in this environment. The opportunity to create and express themselves in a supportive group, often changes their dialogue from being predominantly negative, to inspired, excited, and insightful. I have witnessed many good-intentioned projects fail, simply because they didn’t quite fit with the specific needs of the target demographic. The art therapy classes have managed to bring people together in a way that many projects before could not.

The Art Therapy classes at the Salvation Army are having a tangible impact on the lives of the participants involved. This is a powerful opportunity for a community of people who would not necessarily have the ability to explore, play, or socialize in this way otherwise. I would confidently refer to this project as a major success…


Individual/Group Art Therapy Sessions

The Kutenai Art Therapy Institute offers group and individual art therapy sessions for children and adults. Our art therapy program students host these sessions as part of their clinical placement requirements. Each year KATI offers a variety of groups for children and adults, as well community service organizations. 

Please call our office at 250-352-2264 if you are interested in participating in art therapy. There is currently a waiting list. Self-referrals are accepted. Adult clients are asked to donate on a sliding scale for art therapy services to cover art supplies and room costs. ($5/$25 sliding scale) 

Art for People

Art for People was created by two KATI graduates: Martine Bédard and Andy Holmes, and is an initiative overseen by KATI. Art for People continues to fundraise to support creative projects around the world.

Art for People Community Grants

Painting by Andy Holmes of Art for People

Painting by Andy Holmes of Art for People

These grants are intended to support creative community projects and to support groups or individuals doing grassroots community work. Projects attempting to promote individual and community well-being through the creative expressive arts will be considered.

Other criteria that will be considered are:

  • Projects that are planned with other community partners;

  • Cultural sensitivity to the community’s needs;

  • Projects that lay the groundwork for the potential of continued programming; 

  • Creativity in breadth and depth;

  • Initiatives that incorporate art/craft making into establishing a marketable product for individuals and communities to achieve more sustainability;

  • Contributions to social change and justice through bringing art therapy to the global community.

Please note that grant money is available only for art supplies, program supplies and programming costs. Grant applications will be reviewed by the Art for People Projects committee.

For more info visit

Image via Auxilium Horizon Productions

Image via Auxilium Horizon Productions

Auxilium Games

Auxilium Horizon Games are hands-on therapeutic communication tools utilizing the concepts, original artwork and games format of the original Blue Heron Productions created by the Founder of KATI, Monica Carpendale and her late partner, Blake Parker. These games are available in both blended and digital versions.

Auxilium means ‘to aid’ and ‘Horizons’ refers both to the line where the earth meets the sky and the limits of a person’s knowledge, mental perceptions and experiences. For more information, go to: