Art City: helping kids reach their full potential

I spent the past week in Winnipeg, Manitoba, doing workshops from Mon-Fri at Art City. If you don’t know this place, you should. It’s really an amazing vision, offering people of all ages free art programming 6 days a week.

Nearly two decades ago, Wanda Koop, an internationally renowned artist from Winnipeg, saw a need for accessible arts programming in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood. In 1998, she founded Art City, one of the first organizations of its kind in Canada. The idea: that community art programming should be accessible to all.

They routinely invite guest artists from across Canada to program a workshop model for one week in their main studio. For my week at Art City, we made sugar art! Each day had a different theme/ material. We did fondant sculpting, painting sugar tiles, and piped icing drawings. One the last day, we created 2 mandala forms, using components that the participants made over the week. The staff at Art City will be installing the two panels outdoors over the winter to let the sugar erode. It was fun to see how the kids responded to using sugar as an art material, but also to propose the idea of ephemeral art.

I was so inspired by the staff and volunteers who keep this place not just running, but thriving. This place is so much more than just for making art. It’s a place where people of all ages, often marginalized kids and adults, can feel safe and welcomed no matter what else is going on in their lives. I highly encourage people to consider donating to this non-profit organization. If you live in Winnipeg, they also throw a huge fundraising party each year… I hear it’s legendary! Here’s a link to their website: http://www.artcityinc.com/