The Paparella Innovative Art program started out in 2008 as a pilot project and has since grown to be regular curriculum of Lawson Ministries.  Currently, the program runs four sessions per week with a total enrollment of 24 students.  The program provides a wide range of multi-faceted sensory stimulation while exposing the students to wide range of media.   The art production is focused on technique compounded with free exploration.  While most of the students work independently on pieces, collaboration is also encouraged.  The artworks produced within the art class are proudly exhibited throughout the halls of the Salvation Army Lawson Ministries Autism Centre as well as being marketed for sale to the general public at very affordable prices!   Please click here to view a gallery of current pieces available for sale.

The art program has been working on expanding its roots with a focus on establishing ties with the community at large.  In the spring of 2010, 29 selected pieces were displayed in a very successful exhibit at the FRWY Coffee House at 333 King Street East.  Some of the pieces have also been selected and featured on three different covers of the Journal on Developmental disabilities.

Program Instructor

Kamila Miszelska, Program Instructor

Kamila Miszelska has pioneered the development and implementation of this innovative art program.  Kamila’s love of art lead her to pursue her undergraduate degree in fine arts at McMaster University.  Her passion for bringing the love of creating art has benefited hundreds of aspiring artists with special needs. 
Kamila brings her passion for art to each and every class and teaches individuals to find their creative side and focus on art as a fun and meaningful excercise! 


Phone: 905-527-6212 ex241

To donate to the Paparella Innovative Arts Centre a cheque can be mailed to or dropped of in person at:
533 Main St E
Hamilton, ON

Digital Art Therapy Project funded by Unity for Autism

The Digital Art Therapy program at the Salvation Army Lawson Ministries Hamilton Autism Centre (SALMH) provides adults with ASD an opportunity to create digital art on password protected touchscreen devices (i.e., Dell 15-inch touchscreen laptops and Dell 55-inch 4K interactive Monitor using a variety of art-making apps. The program is best suited for individuals with high sensory sensitivities who prefer creating in a mess-free, texture-free artistic environment.  While creating digital art, verbal participants have an opportunity to engage in dialogues with the art therapists regarding their daily activities, emotions, hopes, favourite interests, and upcoming family and community events.  Non-verbal participants undergo personal self-expression through digital art-making. 


Olena Darewych, PhD, RP, RCAT is a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario, a Registered Canadian Art Therapist and Adjunct Faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University and Adler University. Clinically, she has 17 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and older adults in a variety of settings such as hospitals, child and family services, schools, and long term-care facilities in Australia, Canada, USA and Ukraine. Her current research investigates imagination in adults with autism using arts-based assessments. 

In May of 2013, participants of Lawson Ministries’ Art Program bonded together to create a quilt that truly expresses their feelings and their emotions, as well as their creativity. This project was funded by Autistic Innovation of Hamilton, Ontario.