Aerin Bell wants to help people express themselves through art.

After graduation, the Grade 12 student at George McDougall High School has dreams of travelling to less fortunate countries to open art therapy centres.

“I want to give people who normally don’t have the chance to go to regular therapy the chance to convey themselves through art and media,” Bell says, “as a way to help them recover through traumatic experiences or to help them sort of figure out what they are feeling.”

Bell works mainly with mixed media forms of art, using her experience with mental health and past experiences as inspiration. She also volunteers with her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance club to help create a school culture that is inclusive and safe. 

Marda Wright has taught Bell art since she was a 14-year-old, and is also the art teacher at George McDougall.

“Aerin has proven to be one of the most creative and innovative artists I have encountered. She is also an exceptionally engaging, interesting and warm person with tremendous depth of character and integrity,” says Wright. 

“Aerin’s passion for art motivates and inspires other students to strengthen their skills and ideas.”