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justsittinMonkey Hill Creative Arts, owned by Dorian Hill and voluntarily facilitated by Stephanie Hansen was founded in 2012 in memory of their late daughter whose nickname was Monkey. Starting out as a brick and mortar gallery in Hamilton in the popular James Street North's art district in the center of the city's renowned Art Crawl. The business plan for the gallery was thoughtfully designed to honour their daughter's spirit and what she taught them about fairness, equal opportunity, and the importance of encouraging others. Eschewing the centuries old tradition of commission based business, the gallery rented wall space to artists for $100 per 6 feet of space, giving artists a fair chance to earn the amount of money deserved for their skilled work. Reserving a section of wall space to display and sell Stephanie's art work donated to Monkey Hill fulfilled the bulk of the business's financial needs with the hopes of eventually setting aside enough profits to be used, in some way, to benefit other persons who are severely disabled, as was their daughter. The venture was very successful. Unfortunately, the space was rented on a short term lease with the possibility of renting long term, and when the original lease expired the owner decided not to renew it. 

At that time, Stephanie was invited by the now late Bill Powell to become a member of the well known artist run Tiger Group Gallery associated with formidable artists the likes of Rick Cook, Robin Laffier, Conrad Furey, Eric Ranveau, and many others. For the next year she displayed and sold her art in that art space with proceeds continuing to go to Monkey Hill Creative Arts. Unfortunately, once again, that venture ended within a year due to the failing health of founder Bill Powell and the group then closed after 40 years. 

Already disabled, Stephanie's health degraded considerably further after a severe injury, putting her work and career on hiatus for the next two years, which effectively brought Monkey Hill to a halt as well. Now, in September 2015, still severely restricted by chronic pain, Stephanie is back working again within her limitations, but creating art nonetheless. Monkey Hill Creative Arts' motto is "Every one of us has more possibilities than limitations." Standing by those words, and after long and deep meditation upon the spirit, the lessons, the fears and the dreams they had for their daughter, their precious "Monkey", Stephanie and Dorian are resurrecting Monkey Hill Creative Arts, with a renewed fervour, faith, and a new business plan. 

All of the net proceeds of Monkey Hill Creative Arts will be donated to the Creative Spirit Art Centre in Toronto. Conditions are such in both of their lives - Stephanie herself being a disabled artist, and Dorian being just a very hard working man who needs money to pay his bills like everyone else - the money earned from the art simply is not enough to equal the effort it takes to create the work or to facilitate and to run the business. However, the love, the admiration, and the appreciation for the efforts of Ellen Anderson, the Centre's outstanding board of directors, for every volunteer there, and for our profound respect and compassion for the artists who have need of access to the facilities of the Centre are more than enough inspiration to keep us working hard to try and help them all in whatever small way we can. 

"As a professional artist of more than twenty years it was my great hope that my art would someday open important doors for me. But I always said that disabilities don't end lives, they just change them. And so, with these changes to my body, to my life, it is now my profoundest hope that my art can somehow help keep open the door to the Creative Spirit Art Centre, and I cannot think of any door more important than that one." ~ Steph