Creativity comes to life at the Shenkman Arts Centre

Shenkman_Arts_Centre_Summer_Camp_Dance_RoutineIf you live in Ottawa and you love theatre and the arts, chances are you’ve seen a show at the Shenkman Arts Centre.

Best known for its more than 200 professional shows throughout the year, the centre, tucked away in Orléans, is also home to an impressive array of creative arts programming, taught by industry professionals.

It’s within these walls that creativity comes to life for kids of all ages.

In the Maker Studio, held Jan. 16, children ages 0 to 12 can create Doodlebots – a robot that can doodle – or a game that lights up using simple electronics, LED lights, motors, batteries and recycled materials, all with just a bit of help from their parents.

There’s also a Scratch Animation workshop March 5, where kids can draw, paint or scratch onto film stock, then screen the short animated work.

“Maker and digital arts are really growing, non-traditional areas of the arts and we are trying to grow along with them,” said Karen Scott-Gagne, who works in Audience and Partnership Development. “They are very popular right now.”

Not sure if the activities are something the kids will enjoy?

“That’s the great thing about both of these workshops – they’re not a long-term commitment. It’s just one afternoon, a fun outing.”

These are just two of the approximately 300 professional artist-taught courses, camps and workshops located under the Shenkman Arts Centre roof.

Operated by the City of Ottawa, the centre also features six free-admission galleries, which showcase peer jury-selected local, Canadian and international artists who work in a variety of visual media. It collaborates with the AOE Arts Council, Gloucester Pottery School, MIFO (Mouvement d’implication francophone d’Orléans), Ottawa School of Art–Orléans Campus, and OYP Theatre School.

It’s no wonder the programming draws participants from all over Ottawa. “People will go to great lengths for the right program,” said Scott-Gagne. “They’ll chase down the program that suits their interests and needs.”

Summer at Shenkman is entirely dedicated to children’s camps. Although it may be the last thing on most parents’ minds right now, this is the time to look for children’s summer programming, she added.

With their specialized programming, these camps are also led by professional instructors who work in the field.

“Because these people are professionals and experienced teachers, they know how to make this a fun and learning experience,” said Scott-Gagne.

“We see kids come back year after year for summer camps until they’ve outgrown the system or turned

This story was produced by Ottawa Parenting Times Magazine on behalf of the Shenkman Arts Centre for commercial purposes.