Co-Founder, Creative Director
Creative Arts Specialist
Specialties: Mindfulness-based art activities training, individual/groups (for anxiety/chronic pain, stress), Reflective-based art activities (art journaling and creative writing), At-risk youth programming, Seniors programming
Bachelor of Arts, UBC
Masters Degree in Cultural Anthropology (specializing in the Anthropology of Art and Museum Studies), UBC
Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy Level 1 and 2
True Point with Margaret Callahan Jones
Meg co-founded Alongside You with her husband, Andrew. She wanted to create a place for people with different challenges to access services and care.
Having a twin sister with a rare form of dwarfism and profound hearing loss has been a driving force behind Meg’s desire to create accessible programs and creative projects for diverse populations and families. Making art with her sister both in a hospital and out, helped Meg to cope and maintained a close relationship with her twin. As a teen, setting up day camps with a heavy emphasis on art, working as an art director at a large summer camp, and working at art galleries led her to study two years of Fine Arts at UBC and receive both her Bachelors and Masters degree from UBC in Cultural Anthropology (specializing in The Anthropology of Art and Museum Studies). Working alongside artists and elders, learning from youth, and interacting with kids of different abilities helped her gain an understanding of why people make art. Teaching courses both at UBC and Douglas College, Meg continued to learn and teach about the importance of the creative process for passing down meaningful lessons and how making art can have a significant positive impact on the lives of others.
Meg has suffered from chronic pain resulting from a motor vehicle accident and along with her physical rehab, Meg has focused her attention on how art can be used to improve overall health and wellbeing. Making art and journaling have helped her immensely in pain management and emotional wellbeing. It is through this that Meg understands the importance of an individuals’ active involvement in their own health plan. Meg sees the long-term benefits of using integrated approaches to reach health goals using a variety of methods to create stronger and healthier minds, body, and social relationships.
Group and Individual Programs:
Meg works closely with specialized groups to provide customized art programs based on the interests and needs and offers individual one-on-one sessions to work on mindfulness skills, self-care/reflection, self-management skills.
Meg runs Open Studio Sessions at our art studio, where the public can come and try any type of art activity in an all-abilities, intergenerational setting and runs several programs throughout the year: “Pain in the Arts,” a chronic pain and mindfulness art class, and “Be You,” an art journaling class.
Public speaking and training:
She also does speaking engagements at health fairs, among families of kids with disabilities or mental health issues, for youth events, at schools, and seniors centers. She also provides training for teachers, parents, doctors and other medical professions on how to use art for self-care and positive relationship building.
She continues to develop new programs and networks with other agencies and organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club Alternate School Program, Delta School District, Surrey Memorial Doctor’s/residents, Fraser Health, elementary and high schools, care homes, church groups, arts organizations, and respite programs. Both Andrew and Meg have participated as committee members of Delta’s Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Local Action Team, bringing agencies together and making meaningful connections between services providers, parents, and kids by hosting keynote speakers in our community.
Along with public speaking and training, Meg connects with the community in a variety of different ways: She is the co-author for “An Artful Life,” a monthly column in The Delta Optimist, runs outreach art events, such as Ladner’s Family Fun Craft Day (an art day for families with kids with special needs), facilitates art projects at community events (May Days) and runs Friday Night Knitting Club Events to fund our Step Forward Program to help subsidize services for low income families.
Why is Alongside You different from other agencies in Delta, Surrey or Vancouver?
Being able to provide timely and effective programs for those in our community who may be falling through the cracks. We use evidence-based research to plan and develop our interventions and approaches to health. We bring people together in new and different ways in order to create stronger relationships and families. Meg likes that Alongside You can be responsive to the needs of our community, meet these needs in whatever way we can, and if we can’t, connect them with someone who can.
What is Meg like outside of work?
Meg is an anthropologist at heart. She loves people watching and has a thirst for learning about different cultures, people, and groups. Meg loves walking, visiting museums and shopping! She finds inspiration for her own artwork in nature and thrift/artisan shops and loves exploring patterns, designs, textures, techniques. She also loves finding or making interesting jewelry, baking, singing, writing and spending time with her family. Meg loves the colour turquoise and the colour fuchsia…her hair may or may not be that colour!! She also loves inspirational quotes! Her favourite statements? BE YOU. and “There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” Vincent Van Gogh
Interested in hearing more from Meg?
You can read her blog posts here.