From little girl silenced, to award-winning artist & speaker
I am Cheryl-Ann Webster
and this is my story.
Although my childhood was far from ideal and my naive decisions have had life-long consequences, my journey has been rich in lessons and experiences. It has been a journey that has taken me from a little girl silenced to an award-winning artist and speaker. Now, I am the Executive Director at CiiAT – The Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy, where I advocate for innovation and growth in the field of art therapy, including initiatives like the Virtual Art Therapy Clinic.
While growing up, I was silenced by the belief that little girls should be seen and not heard, so I kept quiet even when I should have spoken up. As the silence grew, my self-esteem eroded. Art became my voice—I began to silently sketch my innermost thoughts and feelings, and through my art, make sense of my life.
Over time, I studied what had shaped me, who had influenced me, what was in my control, and what I needed to do to survive…or even better, to thrive!
I am not sure when I fully realized I was in control of changing my situation, but I do remember starting to make the most of my limited resources, rather than focusing on what I didn’t have. At the time, I felt like I was simply putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward slowly but surely. In retrospect, I was actually following a process I now call ART – Awareness, Resilience, and Transformational, which guided me out of the darkness and into the life I love.
No longer silenced, I smile when I am introduced as an award-winning speaker and artist with a glowing list of awards & qualifications on my resume. I smile—not in a boastfully, but in an empowered way, as I am living proof that we can heal, grow, and achieve.
Today, I use my spoken words to empower the audience, and my creative expressions and art exhibitions as the backdrop for interactive, experiential learning. Together with my incredible team at CiiAT, we strive to make the world a more open, understanding, and healthy place.
Your professionalism and careful planning, coupled with your sensitivity to the needs of your audience made your workshop powerful experience for clients and staff alike. I will certainly recommend you as a trainer and presenter to other social service organizations.
What a wonderful concept. A celebration of each woman for what she is, not what people think they should be.
I had the pleasure of visiting your Beautiful Women Exhibit at CNE in Toronto at the Ex this past summer and was left speechless at the beauty of your work and it’s inspiring messages! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to shar