The Paparella Innovative Art Program

The Paparella Innovative Art program started in 2008 as a pilot project and expanded to become a regular curriculum of Lawson Ministries Hamilton. The program, which runs four sessions per week with a total enrollment of 24 students. provides multi-faceted sensory stimulation while exposing students to a range of art media. Art processes focus on technique and free exploration.  While most of the students work independently on pieces, collaboration is also encouraged.  Artworks produced in class are proudly exhibited throughout the halls of the Salvation Army Lawson Ministries Autism Centre as well as marketed for sale to the general public at very affordable prices.  Several pieces were featured on covers of the Journal on Developmental Disabilities. Please click here to view a gallery of current pieces available for sale.

Program instructor Kamila Miszelska has pioneered the development and implementation of this innovative 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 exercise. 

The art program is expanding through new connections with the larger Hamilton community.  We look forward to sharing more news in 2021.

For more information, please contact:

905-527-6212 x 241

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

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. 

Digital Art Therapy Project funded by Unity for Autism