Edmontonian's art inspired by special relationship with first responders

The paintings and drawings signed "Quinn" frequently found in the offices of higher-ranking Edmonton Police Service members are a sign of gratitude for their support from one young woman.

"She's just one amazing young lady," Const. Corinne Kline told CTV News Edmonton.

Kline and Quinn Lifshitz met four or five years ago, when Lifshitz' support worker came to EPS looking for volunteer opportunities.

The 22-year-old has autism and a great appreciation for emergency service workers, who are an integral part of her support system.

"Edmonton police officers have been really supportive of Quinn in times of mental health crisis or whatever else," explained Lifshitz' current staff, Clay Swanson.

And EPS members have been eager to build the relationship.

For her birthday, Lifshitz was gifted a ride in a police vehicle. Chief Dale McFee attended her party – which wasn't complete without a police minion cake – and the two exchanged gifts.

Lifshitz channels her creativity to thank EPS members she crosses paths with.

Her gifts come in a variety of shapes, colours and mediums: "Painting, drawing, colouring, stuff with aluminium foil," she told CTV News Edmonton in a recent interview.

"Nothing is off the table," Swanson joked. "We've actually been doing fused glass, recently."

"We're planning on getting some material for that," Lifshitz added.

Many gifts are owl themed, because Lifshitz likes to portray them.

"It's really known because Clay and everyone has 1,000 of them because I keep forgetting I made them so many already," she admitted with a smile.

Her production really ramped up during the pandemic, when there was more time to fill.

"She made tons of artwork and did lots of custom pieces for officers, and would reach out to them and find out what their favourite colours were or something that was of interest to them," Swanson recalled.

The house became filled with "projects out of projects," as Lifshitz put it.

Through Swanson, Lifshitz said, "Police officers are not all mean. They don't always hurt people, and that they're working really hard to do training for mental health crisis and mental health training."

"Yes, she has her things that happen with mental health," Kline commented, "but she comes through it and we're here to help. All of us – AHS, EMS, police…

"That's part of policing, especially what my unit is, is engaging in all of the little things that, say, patrol services can't do, or canine can't do, or anyone of the other units can't do."

Lifshitz hopes she'll be able to do more with EPS in the future.

"She always wanted to be a police officer, but unfortunately because of her disability, she's not able to. So we're fingers crossed that, hopefully, she can be like an honourary recruit or something along those lines," Swanson said.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Galen McDougall