Marilyn McLean and the Kingston Street Mission

BELOW: Read about ‘Street Mum‘ and the Kingston Street Mission that has a home here at St. Andrew’s Church.

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Click here to read about ‘Street Mum‘ as it appears on

Click on the link below to hear the interview of Sandi Dodds on CKWS News. 

‘It’s just like your family’: Kingston’s The Mess Studio 10 years old and going strong

Let’s talk about “The Mess.”

That’s the name of an art-based program in downtown Kingston, designed for those affected by poverty, addiction, mental and physical health issues. On Tuesday, The Mess officially celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Sandi Dodds is the executive director and co-founder.

“We’re called The Mess Studio because life can definitely be messy and so can art,” Dodds said.

The Art of Hanging Art

And according to Dodds, if you keep working on it and persevere — in both life and art — something beautiful will result. And that’s been the case as The Mess celebrates a decade on the Limestone City scene.

The initiative, which is run out of the basement of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in the downtown area, is a place where art and relationships come alive, Dodds says.

“We are diverse and inclusive but at the heart of The Mess are people that are struggling with physical or mental health, addition, poverty, loneliness,” Dodds explained.

“We qualify that only to say please come out. Don’t let anything stop you from being a part of our community, we want to remove all stigmas.”

Sharon Walker has been a part of The Mess for seven years now. She enjoys producing art, and she also enjoys the atmosphere where she does it.

“It’s really a great place to come and meet new people and it’s just like your family,” Walker said. “That’s what it is.”

Dodds and co-founder Mechele te Brake have taken something from humble beginnings to what it is today, and Dodds says they had no idea that they’d go two to 150 people.

The Mess has spent the past seven years at St. Andrews, all rent-free. The non-profit organization is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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~~St. Andrew’s Autumn DVD and Discussion~~

Tuesday evenings November 5-26, 7-8:30 p.m. in St. Andrew’s Hall.

The most recent contribution by N.T. Wright of the University of St. Andrew’s, Scotland ‘There is a great difference between being acquainted with the New Testament, and understanding it’.

A great opportunity to consider anew the scriptures that introduce he who is ‘The Word’.

All welcome!

The Rev. Dr. William Morrow, School of Religion, Queen’s University
The Irving and Regina Rosen Public Lecture Series
Tuesday, November 5, 2019 5:30pm
Reception to follow
Admission Free ~~ Everybody Welcome ~~
The University Club, 168 Stuart Street, Kingston, ON


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Are you a student at St. Lawrence, RMC or Queen’s? You are invited to join in a ‘crawl’ of some of Kingston’s historic church buildings and learn a bit about the witness of each. Check out the facebook page ‘kingston church crawl 2019’.