The Gallery is currently closed between exhibitions. The Gallery will re-open with its Summer Exhibition on Wednesday May 16, 2018.
AFK Blog
May 09
Conference in Seattle inspires visual learning in classrooms

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In March, 2018, art educators from the North Vancouver School District attended the National Art Educators Association (NAEA) Conference in Seattle, Washington. With the theme: Art + Design = STEAM, the conference focused on expanding art throughout the learning continuum.

"It was a great opportunity for the gallery team and district art specialist to attend a conference dealing specifically with art and gallery education," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids.

The educators attended multiple sessions, including the keynote address by artist and educator Nick Cave. With its perspective of leadership and advocacy for the arts, the conference was invaluable when considering how to extend professional development by inspiring generalist teachers to engage in the arts.

Daylen's spread.pdf

For example, Sally Bensusen, a NASA staff illustrator, gave a presentation on The Leonardo Principle: Introducing Drawing and Observing Skills to the Science Classroom. Her presentation explored practical, art-related exercises that help science teachers understand and use art in the classroom. She spoke about the pre-industrial style of documenting that is still in practice today. Using observational skills, such as a leaf comparison, students are able to enhance their understanding.

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"Seeing how she brings her documenting skills to science classes is a great way to understand how to extend visual arts in other fields, from math to languages," says Yolande. Guiding non-art teachers to art-based thinking allows them to incorporate visual skills throughout their teaching.

Daylen spread 2.pdf

Suzanne Chow, a Gallery Educator, attended a variety of sessions. Some offered lesson and project ideas, others were more theory based, discussing visual culture art education.

"I was interested in the discussions about how to teach students to think creatively and develop creative habits of the mind rather than replication of art," Suzanne says. These are the skills that endure, and that students carry with them throughout their lives.

Attending the conference in Seattle was vital for the teachers. It provided an opportunity to hear new theories and practices, discover lesson ideas and exchange best practices with other teachers at the conference. The annual gathering is usually a prohibitive distance, so having it just a three-hour drive from North Vancouver made it accessible.

We are grateful to the North Vancouver School District for the funding and support to attend the conference. The three days spent in Seattle broadened our thinking around sharing more visual-arts based education opportunities with students and teachers of other disciplines, for a more comprehensive learning experience for all our students. 

Apr 18
Studio Art Academy Mural at the Vancouver Art Gallery

​This semester, the students in the AFK Studio Art Academy along with those from Britannia, Jules Verne and King George Secondary Schools had a remarkable opportunity to meet a renowned artist Takashi Murakami, explore Japanese symbolism and create an expression of their world in a mural. The student art is on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery Annex through Sunday, April 22, 2018. 

Mural 1.jpg

The Think Tank for Youth on Art and Ideas facilitate interactions with the Vancouver Art Gallery's exhibitions by encouraging students to think creatively and independently, while developing visual responses to their world. The project was three months in the making.

At the end of January, the students met the artist Takashi Murakami. His exhibition, The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg is the first solo presentation of this Japanese artist's work in Canada, and is at the Vancouver Art Gallery through May 6, 2018.

In early February, the students spent an afternoon with the artist, accompanied by their teachers and local interdisciplinary artist Cindy Moshizuki

Cindy developed a workshop for the students, spending an afternoon at each school exploring representation in Japanese art, traditional Japanese Noh theatre symbolism, and Buddhist arhat meaning and representation.

In late February, the students returned to the Vancouver Art Gallery for a second visit to the exhibition, taking in the art through the insight gained in Cindy's workshop.

Then, on April 12 and 13, the students worked with the Vancouver Art Gallery education staff to collectively create the mural, which is now on display in the Annex Workshop. The result is a visual expression of the students' contemporary world, through the symbolism, inspiration and understanding of the renowned Takashi Murakami and Cindy Moshizuki.

"When I first started, I was worried about how I would feel about the end product. Everyone's different styles working together in one piece seemed far-fetched. I think now that it looks better with all the diversity. It's chaotic and I love it," says one of the Studio Art Academy students.

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The mural is on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery Annex through this Sunday, April 22, 2018. We encourage you to visit the remarkable expression of student perspective.


Feb 28
Spring after school art classes and summer camp

​Spring is about to arrive, and with it comes a new season of art classes for kids.  

Our Spring After School Art Classes are now open for registration. Starting the week of April 9, classes are available for those in the elementary grades. Our youngest students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 can learn drawing and painting skills in Art for Small Hands. Older students have a range of classes available. In Eco Explorers, those in grades 2-4 will be introduced to Gordon Smith's tangles, Jack Shadbolt's life force and Emily Carr's forests, and be inspired to create their own images based on our environment. For those in Grades 4-7, students can explore Photography. Kids will learn care of the camera, some composition guidelines including rule of thirds, viewpoint, balance and depth. They will also have an introduction to shutter speed and aperture, as well as some editing.

Spring is a particularly good time for art classes, as young people are able to discover new skills that they can continue to build on over the summer.

The price of registration includes the cost of all materials. 

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If Spring is here, can summer be far behind? Registration for our Summer Camps is now open. 

Our unique art-based summer camps run from July 8 - 13, 2018 in Brackendale B.C. It offers outdoor studio adventures for young artists with teams of experienced art teachers and professional artists plus guest artist visits and daily recreation activities including canoeing, hiking, archery, cave exploration, a campfire singalong and a variety of fun filled outdoor games. 

This year we are delighted to welcome M.E. Sparks as our Junior Camp Artist in Residence. Through painting she brings together found forms, personal narrative, dream imagery and art historical references. She has exhibited work across Canada and was a finalist in the 2016 and 2017 Annual RBC Painting Competitions and the recipient of the 2016 Nancy Petry Award.

Our Senior Camp Artist in Residence is Justin Ogilvie. His painting practice explores various tensions between traditional and contemporary modes of representational painting. Justin currently teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design as a sessional instructor, and has taught at the University of Alberta, Vancouver Film School, and for the Vancouver School Board. He is the recipient of numerous provincial and private awards, and is part of both national and international art collections.

To register your child for one of our art programs, please visit our programs page.


Feb 14
Graham Gillmore Print Release February 22, 4-7 p.m.

​We are proud to present the release of our latest print by renowned artist Graham Gillmore.

This limited edition print, entitled OP OR TUNIST, is based on layering text and imagery over antiquated ledger paper. It captures the artist's ongoing interest in text as image, and how words can alter pre-exiting meanings located within more conventional, figurative imagery.


Graham Gillmore


34.5 x 25 inches, edition of 80

archival inkjet and etching on BFK Rives paper

Gillmore is referring specifically to pictures collected from illustrated children's books published in the 1950s and 1960s, when he was a child. The childhood-inspired images exude a quality of playfulness, innocence, optimism, and utopian idealism that disappears as those carefree years pass and we move into adulthood.

Graham Gillmore was born in 1963 in North Vancouver. He pursued a formal art education at Emily Carr College of Art and Design, yet considers himself to be largely self-taught. He credits his friends from art school as having had the most profound affect on his work. Douglas Coupland, Angela Grossmann, Derek Root and Atilla Richard Lukacs all figured prominently in the development of his early career and remain good friends to this day.

Following graduation from Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1985, he and his art school colleagues found a studio on Cordova Street in Vancouver and the artistic group "Futura Bold" was born. Within a year, this creative force were included in the "Young Romantics" exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery and the careers of five of Canada's most outstanding young artists were launched. Riding on the success of this initial exhibition, Gillmore moved to New York City.

He is a painter best known for his vitriolic use of text as an art form within edgy and often controversial work. Graham Gillmore's work can be found in numerous private, corporate and public collections in Canada, the United States and abroad, including The Ghent Museum, Belgium, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, The Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, and The Museum Of Modern Art in New York City. Graham's Gillmore's previous edition for AFK, Good Rev/Bad Rev sold out.

We invite you to join us at our print release reception on Thursday, February 22 from 4 – 7 p.m. Welcome remarks will be at 4:45 p.m. with music provided by the Carson Graham Jazz Trio.


Jan 24
The Power and Reach of Funding Support

​As the needs of students and our community grow, demand for the programs offered by Artists for Kids expands as well. With finite resources, we can only provide new programs through added support. Two organizations in particular have provided specific funding that has had a direct, positive impact on youth in our community.

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Coast Capital Savings has provided us the means to offer three full days of art-based career training to at-risk youth. Through their Community Investment Grants for Youth, we have created programs that allow us to bring working artists to the students at Mountainside Secondary. 

On Monday, January 15, the students worked with Tania Gleave, a local multi-media artist, creating monotype prints. Tania taught the students the techniques for working with oil-based inks and how to work with multiple plates. The students then planned and designed their work and created original works on rag paper. "Tania is great with the students. She's able to share her perspectives and insights while engaging them in the art," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids. "You can see the connection the young people are making with the opportunity." 

On Monday, January 22, Jud Beaumont of Straight Line Designs brought his unique woodworking insights to the students. They selected pieces of wood and with Jud's pieces as inspiration, created items for their iPhones and other devices. The process began with choosing a piece of wood then planning and sketching a project. Focusing on the outcome meant that the students needed to research, conceptualize, design, problem solve, create and complete. "The ability to meet and work with Jud, and experience the hands-on success is profound for these students," says Yolande.

students planning and designing with jud.jpgThe program concludes on Monday, January 29 when students will be creating waterproof canvas bags. They will design an item that meets their needs, then working with grommets and studs, make and complete the bag.

"It's a remarkable gift to be able to provide students with perspective," says Yolande. "They see the direct correlation between planning and execution." Some students learn through a more hands-on or visual approach, so this unique in-school program allows those who may not have experienced success in the classroom, to feel the pride and self worth that comes through accomplishment. And by hearing stories of those who have created thriving careers through their art and skills, students are able to understand some of the opportunities that await them.

The support of Coast Capital Savings has allowed us to work directly with about 50 students, providing them with hands-on, skill-building and the ability to experience the success that comes through focused, engaged work.

Another source of funding that has had a direct impact on young people's career choices is the funding that came from the City of North Vancouver Youth Initiative Grant. Their support has allowed us to create and run an art assistant training program. This program runs for three Wednesday afternoons in January. Eight secondary students are attending. 

During the three sessions, the students have the opportunity to see teachers and assistants in action with young people. They first attend an art class, to see how the assistant and instructor interact, as well as observing the kids in the class. Then they discussed what they learned. Commenting on how effective the art assistant was in the class, the conversations turned to how they could create such an effective teacher-assistant partnership. In upcoming classes, students will also learn about safety and engagement of kids and the non-verbal ways that they can help to control a class, without disrupting the lessons. They will also work with a young person, to experience, first hand, effective tactics and strategies.

Upon completion, the students will receive a completion letter from Yolande Martinello and be invited to apply for upcoming art assistant positions.  

The impact of these two grants has allowed us to elevate the awareness and opportunities of about 60 young people in our community. We are profoundly grateful for the support of Coast Capital Savings and the City of North Vancouver.

Jan 17
Exhibits to discover this winter

​As the weather drives us to indoor activities, it's the perfect time of year to visit galleries and museums and see how art can enliven spaces and spirits.

Our teaching exhibition Memory • History • Story runs through April 27, 2018 at the Gordon Smith Gallery. This exhibition from the AFK permanent collection brings together pieces from Indigenous artists including George Littlechild, Jane Ash Poitras, Xwalacktun, Kenojuak Ashevak, Robert Davidson, Beau Dick and others. The art includes sculpture, textile, cedar carvings and weavings, as well as two-dimensional works, for a collection that inspires learning in our young people and understanding in our visitors. 

At the Vancouver Art Gallery, visit the exhibition Gordon Smith's The Black Paintings. These works are abstractions, often with collaged pieces. "Strikingly different from his landscape images, the black paintings have a depth and emotive richness, which reveals itself only with close observation," says the Vancouver Art Gallery. The exhibit runs through February 4, 2018.

The Monte Clarke Gallery is celebrating its 25th year with a group show of gallery artists. Two of our patron artists Karin Bubaš and Graham Gillmore are part of the exhibit that runs through January 27, 2018 at the Gallery at 101-525 Great Northern Way in Vancouver.

In the same building, works of one of our founding patron artists are on view. The exhibit titled Jack Shadbolt - The Ghost Universe is at the Equinox Gallery at 110 - 525 Great Northern Way and runs through February 22, 2018.  

One of our artist partners, ceramicist Brendan Tang, has an installation exhibit titled meatspace at the Burrard Arts Foundation, located at 108 East Broadway in Vancouver. The exhibition runs through March 10, 2018 and on Tuesday, February 13th at 5:30 p.m. the artist will be in attendance for a gallery tour.  


Molly Lamb Bobak

Molly Lamb Bobak, Oslo (detail), 1960

The Burnaby Art Gallery is presenting Talk of the Town, an exhibition exploring the street views and city panoramas of patron artist Molly Lamb Bobak, primarily from the 1940s to the 1960s. The opening reception is Thursday, January 18, at 7 p.m. They are offering a curator's tour on Sunday, January 28, at 2 p.m. and a lecture on Sunday, February 25 at 2 p.m. The exhibition runs from January 19 – April 8, 2018. The Burnaby Art Gallery is located at 6344 Deer Lake Avenue.

Take the opportunity to see one or more of these and the many other vibrant exhibitions happening around the Lower Mainland this winter. By supporting galleries and museums, we support our artists and the legacy of Canadian art and culture.



Jan 10
Welcome back to a new year of art and creativity


​The New Year brings lots of fresh opportunities for creative discovery and at AFK we look forward to celebrating the artist in every child.

Our popular Winter After School Art Programs begin the week of January 15, 2018. Taught by master art teachers, these classes allow young people to delight in time away from electronics as they explore their imagination and discover the joy of creating with their own hands. Many of our classes are already filled.

Classes that still have some space available include Tuesday classes for those in Grades 2-4:

  • Positively Picasso
  • Masterful Mixed Media, or
  • Artful Adventures, which welcomes those in Grades 2-5.

For students in Grades 4-7, our available classes include:

  • Clay Creations on Wednesdays
  • Watercolour Exploration on Wednesdays, and
  • The Art of Architecture on Thursdays.

Register online and and give your child a gift of creativity that they'll carry with them through their life. 

In addition to our ever-popular art classes for kids, we have a busy Winter schedule ahead of us.

Art Assistant Training Program
Thanks to a generous grant from the City of North Vancouver, we are proud to be able to offer our Art Assistant Training program. For three Wednesday afternoons in January, we will provide training to secondary students wishing to become art assistants or teacher's assistant.

Artist Training at Mountainside
Through a generous grant from Coast Capital Savings, we are pleased to be bringing art career training to students at Mountainside Secondary. For three consecutive Mondays in January, secondary students will be working with Tania Gleave and Jud Beaumont to explore their skills and abilities.

New Print Release
On February 22, we will be proudly launching a new Graham Gillmore print. More information will be available soon.

Memory • History • Story
Our teaching exhibition continues to draw record numbers of students and visitors. We invite you to visit the exhibition, which runs through the end of April.

There's always something happening at AFK, so please check back often for the latest news. We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events in 2018. 

Dec 19
Wishing you a wondrous holiday and a happy new year
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​As the year draws to a close, we reflect on what has been a remarkable fall and promises to be an even more eventful 2018.

Memory • History • Story

Our teaching exhibition Memory • History • Story is an exploration of our indigenous artists, their perspectives and voices. It opened in late September and has been phenomenally well received by educators and the public. With every teaching exhibition, we develop a specific curriculum to accompany the works. This year, the lessons support and extend the educational opportunity surrounding the history of residential schools in this country, our First People's relationship with the land and their traditions, as reflected in their art.

"This is one of the most important teaching exhibitions in our history," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids. "Seeing the work of our first people, and their perspective on their experiences provides an essential aspect to understanding the true scale, scope and story of our country. It is a big step for our educators in the work of truth and reconcilliation."

More educators throughout the North Vancouver School District and beyond are bringing their classes to see the exhibit. We usually welcome students in Grade 5. The exhibit has been so well received that we are also hosting groups of secondary students and others. Several classes of Fine Arts students from Handsworth Secondary School have visited the exhibit, as have students from the Gifted Program. In addition, students in the French Immersion program at North Vancouver Secondary Schools recorded their perspectives on the exhibition, in French. These audioguides will be accessible to those using the Gordon Smith Gallery MyTours, the self-directed Gallery exhibition app available for download or on one of our iPads available to visitors. Many elementary teachers are bringing groups for half-day, self-guided tours using the Gordon Smith Gallery app.

We invite you to drop by the Gordon Smith Gallery and view this collection. The Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, noon – 5:00 p.m. The Gallery will be closed for the Christmas Break.

Winter After School Art Programs

Our after school art programs are growing in popularity each year and our winter 2018 classes are already more than 70 per cent full, with two classes already taking wait lists. Programs start the week of January 15, 2018 and run for eight weeks. These fun, children's art classes make a great gift, and the skills kids learn last a lifetime.

New Print Release

We are excited to announce that in the new year, we will be introducing a new Graham Gillmore print.  We'll be sending out more information about this latest edition in January.

Art Assistant Training Program

Thanks to a generous grant from the City of North Vancouver, we are proud to be able to offer our Art Assistant Training program. For three Wednesday afternoons in January, we will provide training to secondary students wishing to become art assistants or teacher's assistant. The classes will discuss what teachers need, what the assistants should expect and how they can best support instructors and kids so everyone can get the most from the class. For more information, or to register for the Art Assistant training, please contact our office at 604-903-3798.

Artist Training at Mountainside

Through a generous grant from Coast Capital Savings, we are pleased to be bringing art career training to students at Mountainside Secondary. Jud Beaumont and Tania Gleave will be at the school, working directly with the secondary students to help them discover their own skills and abilities beyond the classroom.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events. Until then, we wish you and your family a joyous holiday and New Year filled with creativity, health and happiness. 

Dec 05
Thousands of students experience Indigenous art

​At Artists for Kids, we understand how essential it is to provide training not just to students, but to teachers as well. When we share insights with our educators, they incorporate it into their classrooms, so students across the district benefit. 

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Through the generous support of the Edith Lando Foundation, we were able to offer extensive training and curriculum development to almost 40 teachers in conjunction with our teaching exhibition titled Memory • History • Story. The training took place over several weeks in the Fall, and continues to be shared with teachers and students.

In late September, the gallery team, consisting of about ten teachers, received specific training about the works on display, the artists and the themes that the exhibit inspires. Through presentations, explorations, discussions and hands-on studio work, the teachers experienced, first-hand, the opportunity to bring visual learning into the classroom, supporting different learning styles and giving more kids the ability to feel success in the classroom. During the half-day instruction, Megan Smetzer, an art historian, provided insight into the Inuit collection. In addition, master art teacher Veis Dokhani who wrote the curriculum that accompanies the exhibit, presented the content to the gallery teachers.  

In mid-October, 30 teachers took part in generalist teacher training. They were introduced to the exhibit, the art, the artists and the themes of the show. They were also given the link to the MyTours app, which allows for a self-guided experience and lesson plans that allow them to share the insights with their students.

The training also provides a natural environment for professional support. "Teachers rarely get a chance to get together, to share ideas and strategies," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids. "We're always working with kids, but we spend all day in the classroom, so there isn't an opportunity to share best practices and stories about what worked and what didn't work in various situations."

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The exhibit has had extensive interest throughout the schools. The Aboriginal Education Department participated in a guided tour of the exhibit. Secondary students in the French Immersion program are touring the exhibit, providing critiques in French that will be available as voice clips and soundscapes on the MyTours app. The Gifted Students program is bringing in 160 students for workshops, allowing them to interpret and experience the art and lessons of Indigenous peoples.

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"This exhibit in particular has been extremely well received and has brought in more groups of students than we have ever experienced," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids. More than 2,200 young people will come through the doors of the gallery and spend time amid art by our indigenous artists.

Not every classroom can make it to the gallery, so the Outreach Program is being extended to the classrooms across the North Shore. Throughout the year, one of our two master art teachers will be bringing a work of art and curriculum-specific lesson plan to more than 1,000 elementary students. Their two-hour program incorporates lessons about an artist, his or her art and the teachings that the art shares. Then the kids experience hands-on art making. The classroom teachers also benefit, as they experiences how to incorporate more visual arts training into their own lessons. Through the lunch break, the specialist Outreach teachers then share lesson plans and tools with other teachers at each school, potentially reaching every educator in every elementary school visited.

Through the generosity of the Edith Lando Foundation, we are able to bring more visual arts focus and directly elevate the impact of indigenization of the curriculum. This year alone, we will reach almost 5,000 students and 300 teachers.

We thank the Edith Lando Foundation for their support and their comprehension of the impact that targeted teacher training can on students this year and in the years that follow. 

Nov 28
Register your child now for Winter After School Art Programs

​Winter is our most popular time for our after school art classes. The New Year is a great opportunity for your child to discover a creative skill or pursue an existing one.

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Our Winter After School Art programs are open for registration and already half the spaces are booked up and one class is full. Be sure to register your child soon, to avoid disappointment.

Classes begin the week of January 15, 2018 and run for eight weeks.

Taught by art specialist teachers and assisted by a secondary art student, our classes provide students with the opportunity to further their artistic ability and foster positive attitudes towards the visual arts. To celebrate the work created in the classes, we will proudly host an end-of-term student exhibition at the Gordon Smith Gallery on March 15, 2018. All students and parents are invited to visit the gallery and see the work created by their child and others.

We offer a wealth of classes for various ages and interests. Kids in grades 1 – 3 can explore Primarily Painting or pattern play with our newest class, Zentangle.

Those in Grades 2-4 can discover a range of Canadian artists in Artful Adventures, and the works of Pablo Picasso in Primarily Picasso.

Students in Grades 4-7 have added media to explore, including Clay Creations, Jewellery Making and the Art of Architecture.

Some of our After School Art Programs are held in the Shadbolt Studio, adjacent to the AFK offices at 2121 Lonsdale. Other programs are offered in schools throughout North Vancouver.

Register your young artist today, and bring creativity and inspiration to their new year.



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 About this blog

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.