'Art saves lives': Studio for people with mental health issues raises more than $150K

After three months of fundraising, a Winnipeg art studio for people with mental health issues has raised enough money to ensure it can offer its full programming for the rest of the year.

In 2015, Artbeat Studio lost a federal grant worth $100,000 after failing to qualify for new criteria, said Nigel Bart, a facilitator at Artbeat. The studio provides space and resources for artists with mental health issues in the city.

At the end of January, Artbeat started the Art Saves Lives campaign, aiming to raise $150,000.

As of Saturday afternoon, the group had raised $153,000. The last $13,000 came in at a Friday night art auction.

"Our community came through," Bart said. "It just shows that people care about mental health and people care about recovery. Artbeat really saves lives."

Bart said the money will cover money lost since losing the grant and fund operations for the rest of 2017.

But he said the studio is still hoping to get a long-term funding plan in place.

"We're going to need to find a source of funding that's going to sustain us beyond 2017," he said.

He said Artbeat isn't the only community group in the city that's struggled.

'"I mean, we're very fortunate, what we achieved," Bart said. "But there's a lot of organizations that aren't going to make it through, and that's very sad."

The studio will continue accepting donations until Sunday.