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Discovering a New Talent

The feature wall in the foyer at Communitas Supportive Care Society was recently updated with an art display by Shane Toy. The paintings are colourful and vibrant. They have a childlike quality to them but take a closer look and you see that the artist has depicted his surroundings with a keen eye for detail.

Shane remembers painting in high school but, until recently, he had not painted much at all. When he discovered a community art class at the River Church in Abbotsford, he decided to take it up again. He likes to do things to keep himself busy and he enjoys interacting with the other artists who attend the weekly classes. Shane says that painting has an impact on him.

Painting makes me feel calm. – Shane, artist

Shane is a familiar face at Communitas and in the city of Abbotsford. He participates in Communitas’ Community Living Program (CLP) and CLP-Employment. He works for Communitas and also for the Grounds Guys, keeping parking lot areas free of garbage. He likes a clean environment and even when he’s not working, he can be seen around the city, picking up trash and collecting bottles for recycling. Those who know Shane, know he values cleanliness but not many people are aware of his artistic talent. Highlighting his artwork in the Communitas foyer is one way to celebrate another side of him.

Veronica Harms is the graphic designer for Communitas and is an artist herself. She loves Shane’s artwork.

“I like the way he sees the details in the world around him and how he portrays that in his art. It is very simple but profound at the same time,” she says.

Shane has always lived in cities and this is where he draws his inspiration. He likes the way cities connect with nature. Buildings intersect with trees and flowers. The surrounding mountains, rivers and sky feature strongly in his paintings as well. His eye for detail can be seen in little things like lights over the door of each home, the swing set in the playground of a school, or the fact that the snow doesn’t fully cover the roof of each house. Sometimes his paintings include little messages, like “God loves you”.

Shane has many paintings and is happy that they have a venue where others can also enjoy them.

“I hear that people like them,” he says. “That makes me happy.”

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