“Lily” is a woman who doesn’t know her own birthday, though upon estimation is likely in her fifties. While she has lived a number of decades, Lily is very child-like. She longs for direction and needs help making what for most adults would be straightforward decisions. Right from the beginning of PNC’s community arts project, Lily was present. She even arrived on time, a feat uncommon to her. Lily would sit and paint, always asking for feedback about whether or not her “art was good”. She sought instruction, eagerly wanting to become more and more of an artist. Over time it was easy to see how Lily’s art was developing. Her work, though unmistakably Lily-like, matured.

When we announced that PNC would participate in an Art Auction with The Gateway, Lily immediately wanted to participate. She was excited about showing her art and possibly even selling it. The day before the auction I gave Lily a map and TTC tokens to get to the event. She was decidedly unsure about her ability to get there on her own. We went over and over the route (which involved only one streetcar and a short walk). To my amazement, Lily arrived early, flush with anxiety and pride. She positioned herself at a table and sat through the entire evening. I was thrilled at the end to be able to tell Lily that one of her pieces sold. With a huge smile on her face she simply said, “did I do good? I think I did good! Am I an artist?”

Yes Lily, you did good. And most definitely, you are an artist.