Mobile arts school helps kids to shine
A man recognized for his previous career as an accomplished social worker has created an art school that emphasizes the importance of art for emotional and creative growth.
The brainchild of Paul Field, Artshine also aims to provide these opportunities to all.
“His experience in youth engagement, social work, and arts education was the inspiration behind the creation of Artshine’s self-funding social enterprise model,” explains Elana Zur.
Zur, an accomplished mosaic artist, has worked as the general manager at Artshine since 2018 and was drawn to the position because, “it felt like the perfect combination of my passion for art, love of children, and business education and experience. On top of that, working for a meaningful organization that is truly helping others is incredibly satisfying and fulfilling.”
“Artshine is a mobile art school. Our students are taught to use their imagination, practice a variety of techniques, and experiment with a variety of mediums. As they practice self-expression and reflection, students work through emotions, form opinions and analyze work as they learn about Canadian art, Indigenous art, and art from around the world,” says Zur.
“One of the things that sets us apart from other programs is the convenience of having us come to you. Our primary focus is on in-school programming which shadows and extends the provincial curriculum by teaching students about the creative process, critical analysis, and the principles and elements of design.”
But what truly sets Artshine apart is that it is a mobile art school with heart. All Artshine profits are invested back into the community through Arts4All, a non-profit initiative providing arts to at-risk and underprivileged individuals. Arts4All, also founded by Field, was the answer to his desire to provide the benefits of art and creative expression to all – regardless of their circumstances.
As Zur describes, the profits are re-invested, “in the form of subsidized and free programs for at-risk and underprivileged youth, seniors and individuals living with disabilities.”
She adds, “In every class, at least two children are fully sponsored with an Artshine scholarship. We also flex our price for in-school programs to meet the needs of the surrounding communities, offering subsidized rates in lower income areas. Arts4All also runs programs for people living with disabilities in community organizations, senior communities, prisons, and centres for at-risk youth. We receive applications for free or subsidized programming and determine each year what we are able to provide.”
Parent and kid approved
Kendra Thompson, a wife and mother of four living in Ottawa East was drawn to Artshine programming for her son Emilio, 9. She says, “We wanted to give him the opportunity to get hands on with different art material that he wouldn’t normally use in the classroom or at home.”
Any parent could appreciate the convenience of Artshine – Emilio was able to enjoy creating and trying new art techniques while attending the lunch time program at his school. A definite time and energy saver for busy parents who usually need to taxi their children to and from their extracurricular activities.
Says Emilio: “This program was so awesome because we got to use cool art stuff like clay and different kinds of paints and crayons. I would recommend it to my friends and even people who aren’t my friends!”
Artshine has programs for all ages – Thompson herself enjoyed a night out with friends at an “Artshine ‘n Wine” painting class hosted at Mandy’s Café in Ottawa.
“The team is great and the teachers are awesome…They are true artists and professionals,” she says.
Thompson especially appreciates Artshine’s dedication to community, saying of her class: “It was super fun but my favourite aspect of it was that Artshine tries to target small local businesses for their location…so the business benefits from the attendance of the program.”
A new launch in 2020
This year brings some exciting developments for Artshine through their introduction of a new monthly subscription service – Artshine in a Box. As Zur explains, it is “our new visual arts subscription service. Subscribers will receive an art kit each month that explores a different theme and art medium and includes an online video, and printed tutorial in English and French. Families will receive creative and engaging lessons featuring drawing, pastels, painting, 3-D pens, and much more.”
They have also ensured that this service aligns with their values by developing a “get one, give one” program where for each kit or lesson ordered – a child in need is gifted the same opportunity.
Artshine is currently running in a variety of cities in Ontario and Quebec, however, this new service will allow them to expand their reach, “so that kids across Canada will be able to experience our enriching art lessons in the comfort of their own home, all throughout the year,” says Zur, who adds, “We are thrilled to have the chance to positively impact the lives of even more individuals through art.”
- Artshine has programming for all ages, using small classes with qualified teachers and artists
- Visit artshine.ca for more information about art opportunities in Ottawa