As a person whose family is affected by autism and after touring St.Amant, Brian Eckhardt was taken with the mission and the great work happening in the programs this organization offers. In addition to his philanthropic nature, Brian has a passion for research and for art.
“My family loves art, my kids all participated in many of the Winnipeg Art Gallery classes and we have a general appreciation for art as a wonderful form of expression,” said Brian.
After attending one of St.Amant Foundation’s wine tasting fundraisers and joining the St.Amant Foundation Board of Directors, Brian suggested adding an art component to the event.
“I know that communication can be a challenge for some of the people St.Amant supports. Art is an accessible medium that provides an opportunity for any individual – disability or not – to express themselves on a different level,” said Brian. “Everyone can take away something different, it’s very personal.”
This spring was the 4th annual Spirited Art Soirée, a wine and cheese event that boasts a large silent auction featuring art pieces made by the individuals supported by St.Amant. Each year, the participants work with guest artists in workshops to create the art. The mediums have varied annually from print making, to beading and painting on silk scarves to large collaborative, movement-art pieces. The art workshops are very popular and participants include young kids from
St.Amant’s Autism program, students from St.Amant School and adults from both of St.Amant’s residential services.
As the CEO of InfoMagnetics Technologies Corporation (IMT), a software development and consulting firm located in Winnipeg and the US, Brian understands and respects the role of research in society. Through Brian, IMT has been the title sponsor for all four Art Soiree events. He has designated the $140,000 raised to support the St.Amant Research Centre.
“I don’t feel that researchers and the work they do get enough credit until there’s a huge breakthrough,” said Brian. The St.Amant Research Centre is committed to research that improves the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and autism.
Brian looks forward to continued support of St.Amant and is convinced that once you get a glimpse of what goes on in the programs and the lives St.Amant touches, you can’t help but become a supporter. “St.Amant is a touching place. I’m still involved because of the dedication I see and the happiness that results.”