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AFK Blog
Oct 03
The impact of our Gallery education

​In conjunction with this year's teaching exhibition Memory • History • Story, we're pleased to be offering educational opportunities for students to experience art and First Peoples Principles of Learning, first hand.

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                                   Xwalacktun, Ambleside Park Swa’y’wi 

Recently, the B.C. Ministry of Education developed new curriculum with a focus to indigenize all areas of learning. This change means not only adding and altering content in the various subject areas but also the methods used to teach these subjects. The exhibit provides students, educators and others with a resource to look at the way we, as individuals and as larger communities, learn.

The exhibition highlights three main sections:

1.     The front of the gallery celebrates the First Nations' crafts, materials and processes. The cedar tree plays an integral role in the spiritual beliefs and the ceremonial life of coastal First Nations and is a natural resource in the production of material goods. Cedar, the well-known symbol of the Northwest Coast, is represented by the welcome pole and the weavings. Other materials presented are Caribou and horsehair, used in the masks and the needle work.

2.     The main section of the gallery portrays the First Peoples Principles of Learning by grouping works into the four chosen areas of learning:

  • Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits and the ancestors.
  • Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships and a sense of place).
  • Learning is embedded in memory, history and story.
  • Learning requires exploration of one's identity.

3.     The Process Gallery honours the work of Kenojuak Ashevak and other Inuit artists. The focus on animals is evident in much of the work.

The Mezzanine Gallery features a selection of limited edition prints from our Indigenous artists. These prints are  available for purchase at our online print shop.

The art in the show is taken from the AFK teaching collection with the exception of three pieces that are on loan. Most of our Indigenous art is exhibited with the exception of a few pieces by artists already represented.

Windows to Canadian Art

Our program brings Grade 5 students to the Gordon Smith Gallery for a full day of art education and hands-on art learning. Each year, we create a curriculum that supports our teaching exhibition. Through this curriculum, we are able to weave together lessons from the themes of the art, stories of the artists and relevant Canadian cultural references. By presenting works of our Indigenous artists and their stories, we are able to share the experiences and insights of our First People with the next generation of Canadians.

This school year, the exhibition will welcome more than 45 classes or about 1,000 students, so if you see groups of young people in the gallery next time you visit, they may likely be part of an all-day Canadian cultural experience.

Outreach program

Not every class can make it into the gallery, so when funding is available, we take the gallery to schools. Through our outreach program, master art teachers Veis Dokhani and Catherine Schechter brings a work of art from our permanent collection to students at elementary schools. In this two-hour long program, social studies is blended with visual art skills to collectively support and enrich the students' curriculum. Through this outreach program, the students are introduced to the stories and perspectives of our Indigenous artists.

Teacher training

Through the generous support of the Edith Lando Foundation, we are able to offer focused teacher training this fall, bringing First Peoples Principles of Learning to up to 30 elementary teachers. These generalist educators will receive training that will allow them to incorporate more opportunities for visual learning into their lesson plans, reaching 600-plus students.

This year's teaching exhibition Memory• History• Story is an exceptional collection of art and an invaluable means to share the perspectives of Indigenous artists with our young people.





Sep 26
Culture Days marks the opening of our latest teaching exhibition

​Join us this weekend for North Shore Culture Days. From Friday, September 29 – Sunday, October 1, 2017, we will be hosting a range of events and activities that celebrate the arts and community. 

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    Studio Technician Emily Neufeld, preparing art for exhibition opening

Friday, September 29

On Friday, from noon to 4 p.m., join us for a sneak peek of our new teaching exhibition Memory • History • Story. Tours will be available.

From 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., meet the artist, master carver Darren Yelton, who goes by his Aboriginal name K'na'kweltn~ as he crafts a four-and-a-half-tonne, 350-year-old log into a kyactn, or welcome pole.

From 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. join us for the official opening of our exhibition. Tour the remarkable collection of work from our Indigenous artists and discover the stories of their art. 

In conjunction with our teaching exhibition Memory • History • Story, we're proud to release Thoughts of the Sea and Sky by Kenojuak Ashevak. This hand-coloured etching and aquatint is one of the last editions of this remarkable artist's work.

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Throughout the weekend, visit the Volunteer's Exhibition in the lobby of The Gordon Smith Gallery. Many of our volunteers are talented artists themselves, so we're pleased to be able to show some of their works during Culture Days.

Saturday, September 30

2 – 3 p.m. Hear the joyous music of the Laudate Singers in the Gallery. After a mini-performance, everyone is invited to learn a Canadian classic from their repertoire, and join the choir in song.

Sunday, October 1

Noon – 2 p.m. Join the North Shore Chamber Orchestra and A Casual Arrangement for a Culture Days Orchestra Jam at the Gallery. Players of all ages are welcome to join in an informal sight-reading session of old and new music from Celtic, pop and classical traditions.

Enjoy a last look at our volunteer exhibition in the lobby.


This year's Culture Days will be a fun, eventful weekend. We look forward to seeing you at one of our events.


Sep 05
Back to Creativity

​The summer has passed faster than imagined, and here we are, post-Labour Day, starting a new school year filled with hope and opportunity.

At Artists for Kids, we're delighted to welcome all the young artists back to class. We're looking forward to offering more great After School Art Programs starting in October. From drawing and painting, to ceramics and jewellery making, our after school classes are always filled with creativity and fun. Online registration for these eight-week classes will open soon.

Lightheart image.jpgWe're also pleased to announce the opening of our exhibition Lighthearted in honour of Terry Lightheart, who passed away in September 2016. Terry was a businessperson, collector and artist whose passion for art was practiced through painting. In his estate he left a portion of his collection to Artists for Kids. To celebrate his love of art and Terry's belief that art should be enjoyed by as many people as possible, we are proud to present a two-week exhibition in his name. Lighthearted runs from Saturday, September 9 – September 23, 2017. Please join us for the opening reception on Saturday, September 9, 2017 from 2-4 p.m., sponsored by Darby's Public House. A small portion of the collection will be available for sale, including works by Jack Shadbolt and Gordon Smith. Funds raised will go towards AFK Bursaries in Terry's name. 

Throughout the year, we are proud to be offering a hands-on experience to students in our Windows to Canadian Art gallery program. In conjunction with our upcoming teaching exhibition Memory•History•Story, we are proud to welcome master carver Darren Yelton, who goes by his Aboriginal name K'na'kweltn~ as he crafts a four-and-a-half-tonne tree. In time, the 350-year-old log will be a kyactn, or welcome pole. Throughout the year, students in our Gallery program will be able to participate by picking up the chisel and making a mark in the totem, to experience first-hand the carving experience. We will host a pole-raising ceremony on National Aboriginal Day in June 2018. 

There will be many other events and activities throughout the fall, so please check regularly for updates. Until then, welcome back.





Jun 29
Welcome summer

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It's the end of yet another school year, a time that marks a transition for us all. Some kids are graduating and entering a new phase of their lives, while others are anticipating the end of classes and a long summer of adventure before another school year begins. And we all look forward to what we hope will be two months of sunshine, relaxation and time spent with friends and family. As we step into summer, consider the range of creative events and activities available to discover.

There's still time to register your child in one of our summer day camps or our week-long sleep-away visual arts intensive camp, to start their summer with a fun, creative focus. 

The Gordon Smith Gallery is hosting dozens of events this summer in conjunction with the exhibition Art School High. Every second Wednesday evening, take in Movies@ the Smith. See a favourite high school-inspired film from recent gems such as Clueless, to classics such as To Sir With Love, all in a distinct and memorable venue for movie viewing 

The Smith Gallery welcomes a series of performances related to high school every Tuesday evening. From David Wisdom's slide show featuring local artists on July 4, to Sarah Bynoe's Teen Angst on July 18, a hilarious evening of poems, diary readings and more, all created during teen years. This summer presents a range of entertaining and thought-provoking ways to connect with our recent or long-past high school experience and the art it inspires.  

The summer also presents a great opportunity to establish creative rituals. Help your kids immerse themselves in hands-on art making with some family-focused ideas.

  • Make art a part of your week. Develop weekly creative prompts to focus your child's thinking. It may be based on a colour exploration, a topic, or a form of media, such as painting or drawing. Giving them prompts allows them to embrace the freedom within a framework.
  • Go for a walk in nature. Ask your child to choose items from the walk, whether it's grass, or sticks, or leaves, as inspiration for a collage.
  • Set aside time in each day for creativity. Spend just 15 minutes each day exploring creative expression and the cumulative effect can be transformative. Create a sketchbook for your child to track their summer and it becomes a precious memory book. Choose a start date and an end date, then challenge your child — and yourself — to draw or create every day this summer. The daily diary of your summer will inspire you and your child to see the world with fresh eyes and may spark a lifelong love of creative self-expression. In addition, it will become a keepsake for this summer that you and your child will cherish. Visit for creative prompts and ideas.As we look forward to summer and the promise of warm days and long evenings, let's look at the coming months as an opportunity to establish fresh rituals and connect with the creativity in our community, in our kids and in ourselves.

As we look forward to summer and the promise of warm days and long evenings, let's look at the coming months as an opportunity to establish fresh rituals and connect with the creativity in our community, in our kids and in ourselves.

We wish you a delightful summer and we'll see you on September 9, 2017 for the opening of Lighthearted, an exhibition from the bequest to AFK from long-time friend and supporter Terry Lightheart. 

Jun 20
Students’ Art Selected For European Show

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North Vancouver's distinctive Studio Art Academy Program has been inspiring talented young people in our community for years. Now their work is being recognized internationally.

We're delighted to announce that four of our students' works will be included in the Eksperimenta! Triennial Exhibition in Tallin, Estonia this fall. The Contemporary Art Triennial Eksperimenta! is a multi-level international art education project designed for students between the ages of 14 and 21. The mission is to support the development of socially sensitive, critical and creative thinking in society through the unification of contemporary art and art education.

"We were approached to participate by the CSEA (Canadian Society for Education through Art)," says Daylen Luchsinger, Program Coordinatior for AFK. "It's the first time we were invited to be a part of the competition." The students were given the topic of Art and the Economy. As inspiration and perspective, the students visited the Vancouver Art Gallery's exhibition Juxtapoz x Superflat in the fall 2016.

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The students created their art in January, and the submissions were delivered in February, 2017. The works went through three levels of selection — provincial and federal, then international. "The students were excited to participate," Daylen says. For many of them, it was their first time entering a competition, and certainly one of this stature.

The curators of the Contemporary Art Triennial Eksperimenta! received over 400 applications from 10 countries. Nine works were selected from Canada, of which four were from students in our Studio Art Academy. The works on display will be:

  • "Maps of the Remote" by Aiden Black
  • "Ursula Maritimus" by Victoria Kwon
  • "Student Debt" by Haley Svensrud, and
  • "Canadian Oil" by Sarah Sullivan

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The works will be on display at the triennial exhibition in Estonia from October 20 – December 3, 2017 in the Tallinn Art Hall, the Art Hall Gallery and City Gallery, which are visited by up to 20,000 people annually.

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"We're so proud of our students," says Yolande Martinello, Director of AFK. "They created distinct and thoughtful works that resonated with judges at every level. To think that while still in high school four students will have works exhibited in Europe is an astounding experience for them and their peers. It's inspiring and reflects the power of focused and effective art-based education. Congratulations to those who were selected and all the students who participated."  

Jun 02
Mentoring Emerging Young Artists Exhibition

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This year, through the generous support of the Ferry Building Gallery Friends Society, we were able to offer three intensive art-based programs for selected students in North Vancouver and West Vancouver. The works created in our Mentoring Emerging Young Artists programs are on display at the Gallery from June 6 – 25, 2017.  

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Through the support of the Society, we are able to allow two selected, talented students from each of the North Shore Secondary Schools to work with Fine Arts teachers and local artists. Over two years, this funding will provide artist-led instruction to more than 140 students. "The Board members strongly believe in art education for emerging artists on the North Shore," said Diane Robinson, Chair of the Ferry Building Gallery Friends Society. "It was a simple decision to partner with Artists for Kids (AFK) for the management and implementation of this project as they have done this kind of programming for more than 20 years."

The first workshop in the program brought students together with Artist Brendan Tang. For three Mondays in the late fall 2016, the students explored and discovered skills with ceramics. "Brendan is an amazing artist, a fantastic teacher and has an amazing amount of technical skill," says Daylen Luchsinger, Education Coordinator at AFK. "He deals with some significant subject matter in a playful, accessible way." Brendan's style of work engages students in the senior years, allowing them to learn from him by examining his work and observing his processes."

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In January, students in the senior grades worked with artist Erin McSavaney. He shared his insights as they experienced three days of an intensive painting program. "Given Erin's artistic style we're working with the students to blend realism with abstraction in the painting process," Daylen says. 

The 20+ participating students in Grades 10-12 were selected by their art teachers for their ability to benefit from this program.  Spending three full days with a working artist and master art teacher allowed the students to focus on an area of visual arts to enhance their own practice and contribute to their portfolio when considering post-secondary education. 

This spring, students learned directly from fine art photographer Mike Wakefield, along with art teachers Daylen Luchsinger and Kory Bogen, and studio assistant Emily Neufeld. "We worked on an industrial historical theme this year," Mike says. "We focused on capturing the vanishing industry on the North Shore and how it's changing Vancouver." Selected images from this program are  published in the North Shore News

"We're so grateful to the Society for their generous support and commitment to providing students on the North Shore with visual arts education at a time in their lives when intensive training and the artistic skills they learn, take root and can inspire and flourish throughout their lives," says Yolande Martinello, Director of AFK.

The Ferry Building Gallery, located at 1414 Argyle Avenue in West Vancouver, is open from Tuesday – Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Please drop in to view the next generation of North Shore Artists. 

May 23
Art from 44 Exhibit at Capilano Mall closes on Thursday

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The creativity of North Vancouver students is proudly on display at Capilano Mall through Thursday, May 25, 2017.

This annual show of work allows our community to celebrate the talent at all levels of our schools. From Kindergarten drawings to portfolio-worthy pieces of our graduating students, the art in the exhibition celebrates the breadth of learning that defines the vibrancy and energy of North Vancouver classrooms.

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"The Capilano Mall show is a great chance for the public to see the range of work that our students create. And it's an opportunity for our young people to experience the pride of having their work on display. The parents, kids and the community love it," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids.

The annual exhibition is a result of the hard work of a collection of teachers. Val Batyi, Michelle Didier and Daylen Luchsinger along with AFK Program Assistant Bev Myrtle, put the show together. Val sends out a call for submissions to each school in the district. Every school in turn submits 10-15 of its best works for the show. The exhibition includes a range of drawings and paintings, collages, print and photography by students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. It's a great opportunity to see the work produced in our schools as well as the progression of skills as young people move through the grades.

The exhibition, entitled Art from 44 — referencing North Vancouver as School District 44 is a vibrant display of the impact of continuing arts education and the power of providing our students with the skills to capture and express their visual voice.

The Art from 44 show will be at Capilano Mall through May 25. Drop by the mall and support visual arts education in our schools and creativity of our students.


May 16
Photography program explores the unseen North Shore


This spring, 16 senior secondary students worked with photographer Mike Wakefield, art teachers Daylen Luchsinger and Kory Bogen, and studio assistant Emily Neufeld in our three-day Photography Enrichment program. "We worked on an industrial historical theme this year," says Mike Wakefield. "We focused on capturing the vanishing industry on the North Shore and how it's changing Vancouver.

The first day, they visited the artists' warehouse at 1000 Parker in Vancouver and visited Jud Beaumont's studio Straight Line Design. They saw, first-hand, the work our artist partner creates and his workspace. "We're they're every day," says Jud, "but the students  came in and immediately saw things that we take for granted. And they were inspired by it. It was great to have them see where and how we work." The students then visited CRAB Park at the Vancouver Waterfront and captured its views of the working port before returning to the North Shore.  


On the second day, the students took a tour of the Columbian tall ship "Gloria" that  was docked in North Vancouver. Then donning hard hats and steel-toed boots, safety glasses, earplugs and high-visibility vests, they had an extensive tour of Seaspan's shipyards. "It's a working shipyard," says Mike, "and one of the last examples of heavy industry on the North Shore. At Seaspan, they have keel blocks they use that date back 40 or 50 years. The patina on the walls, and some of the tools they still use, just screams history. I told the students that it's hard to see history around you when you're living it, but when you look back at these images even just 20 years from now, you're going to see the history around you."  

The students also captured the graffiti below the north side of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge. "It's the underbelly of the North Shore that you don't find, unless you look for it," Mike says.

On the third day, the students took a bus to Function Junction, to photograph the remains of the train wreck near Whistler. The train wreck happened in the 1950s, and the seven derailed and abandoned boxcars have been turned into a destination for hikers and in our case, photographers.

Mike Wakefield is a fine art photographer who has had a long relationship with AFK through his work at the North Shore News. "He brings a great, working perspective of the art to the students, and helps them discover their own distinct style while building on their skills," says Daylen Luchsinger, Program Co-ordinator of AFK. 

To support our photography enrichment program, we are delighted to have received a gift of $10,000 capital grant from the provincial government. The grant will be used to purchase equipment that will elevate and sustain the program. 

Watch the North Shore News for a selection of the students' works, to be published in June, 2017. 

May 11
Bring creativity to your kids this summer

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Our Summer Day Camps are an ideal way to keep your child exploring, learning and creating over the school break. 

This year, we're pleased to be offering three different weeklong classes.

For our youngest artists, those who have finished Kindergarten and Grade 1, we are offering an Art Explorers Camp. The camp runs from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. from Tuesday, July 4- Friday, July 7. During this week, kids will explore drawing, painting and printmaking. The camp is a blend of art creation and recreation, with time spent outside, weather permitting. The price for this four-day camp is $315.

For students who are in Grades 2 and 3, we are offering a Mixed Media Camp, which runs from Monday, July 10 – Friday, July 14, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day. During this camp, the kids will learn a wealth of drawing, painting and 3-d techniques, while enjoying outdoor recreation, weather permitting. The price for this weeklong camp is $395.

For students who are in Grades 5, 6 and 7, we are offering a weeklong day camp focused on Industrial Arts. This day camp offers students half a day working with wood and half a day solving real-life engineering challenges. This camp takes place at Carson Graham Secondary and runs from Tuesday, July 4- Friday, July 7. The price for this four-day camp is $315.

"Our camps are designed to both inspire and enlighten the students. They get a chance to experience extended periods of hands-on learning and creating, while being immersed in a supportive environment with certified art teachers. The combination of focus and fun leads to a week of immense creativity and learning," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids.

Our day camps fill up quickly so register your child soon, to ensure they have a memorable and artful summer break. 

May 02
Celebrating the reach of the arts

​The visual arts reaches beyond the canvas or photograph or sculpture to inspire, enlighten and inform in a myriad of ways. As the end of the school year begins to come into focus, it's time to recognize some of the awards that celebrate the impact of the arts.

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Yolande Martinello presents Kory Bogen with the Bill Reid Grant 

for his initiative at Handsworth Secondary School

The Bill Reid Grant

This cultural grant, given by Artists for Kids encourages schools to engage in cultural learning and activities through traditional arts including dance, song, drumming and the making of regalia. The schools must be working with a Squamish or Tsleil-Waututh educator. "We provide $1000 and require at least a $500 matching fund to ensure the initiative has broad support," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids. "The intent is that there is a legacy component to the project, so its impact continues in the school."

After inviting all schools in North Vancouver to apply, a selection committee awarded this year's Bill Reid grant to Handsworth Secondary School. The grant applicant was teacher Kory Bogen. His proposal will see the school celebrate indigenous culture through a dance performance, as well as photo works that will be permanently installed in the school, providing ongoing access to the visual arts for future students. This cross-cultural project involves students in the media arts students, dance, English and First Nations studies. These young people will collaborate to produce a series of images that will stimulate dialogue between the school and the community showing the traditional clothing and performance arts of the First Nations community in North Vancouver, juxtaposed in the institutional environment of the school that is on their traditional lands.

This is the second annual Bill Reid grant. Last year's grant was awarded to Queensbury Elementary School, which used the funds for a weeklong cultural celebration.

Civic Youth Award

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Yolande Martinello and Daylen Luchsinger  

receiving the Civic Youth Award from the District of North Vancouver

Artists for Kids is honoured to receive the Civic Youth award under the category Outstanding Supporter of Youth from the District of North Vancouver. The award recognizes the opportunities that AFK provides youth, as they enter the workforce. Our Youth Teaching Assistant Workshop Primer provided students in the senior grades with training to work with teachers and young people as a teaching assistant. This training allows them to apply to work in our upcoming programs, as well as other assistant programs in the community. We also offer career-learning opportunities through our Photography Enrichment program and our Art Academy. AFK employs about 40 young people each year for short-term work as art assistants. 

We're delighted to continue our commitment to expanding the perspective of and opportunities for young people.

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About this blog
At Artists for Kids, we are dedicated to educating the next generation of Canadian Artists. This blog, which is updated regularly, shares stories of art-based activities, resources, events, exhibitions and classes, all which contribute to a richer creative and cultural community. We invite you to visit our blog often.