The Artists for Kids Teaching Exhibition [Ab-strak-shuh-n] is open Wednesday to Saturday, Noon to 5:00pm. The Gallery is closed on holiday weekends.
AFK Blog
Mar 09
Wishing you an Artful Spring Break

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Despite the weather, which seems stuck in winter, Spring Break is here. 

Spring Break runs from March 11 – March 26, 2017. While your kids are home from school, there are many activities and events that can inspire their creativity.

Our Spring Break Camps​ are nearly full. We have space for one or two more young artists in Grades 3-5, for our first week of Spring Break Camp running March 13-17. Registration is available online

Consider bringing your kids to the Smith Gallery's Explore & Create workshops on Saturdays from 12:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m., or 2:45 to 4:30pm. A new topic is explored each week:

  • March 11 Mosaic Landscapes
  • March 18 Salt & Watercolour Paintings
  • March 25 Pattern Drawings

The Suggested donation is $5 per child per class. Active parental involvement is required. To register your child for an upcoming workshop, please send an email to:​

Bring art into your life by visiting [ab-strak-shuh-n], our teaching exhibition over Spring Break. Go to the app store and download our Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art MyTours app for an insightful, in-depth tour of our exhibition.

Or get ready for Spring by signing up your young artist for our Spring After School Art classes. Classes begin the week of April 10, 2017. Registration just opened, so some of our most popular classes still have spaces available — but they won't last. ​

We wish you a relaxing Spring Break and look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events. To stay up-to-date on our calendar of activities, be sure to sign up​ to receive our newsletter.



Feb 28
Greg Murdock Print Release — Thursday, March 9, 2017, 7-9 p.m.

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We are delighted to announce our latest print release from artist-patron Greg Murdock.

Titled Nanoose, this edition is inspired by Greg's new home. He recently moved to Vancouver Island. Nanoose Bay is located between Parksville and Nanaimo, and the views it offers are captured in his latest print.

Nanoose is a 3-plate etching. The print size is 23 inches by 10 inches, and the paper size is 27 inches by 14 inches. This edition of 60, printed by New Leaf Editions, is priced at $800.

"Greg's work is always so well received," says Yolande Martinello, Director of AFK. "He is a great supporter of AFK and has been a long-time contributor to our program. Offering us another limited-edition print contributes to the vitality and sustainability of AFK. "  ​

We invite you to join us for the print release on Thursday, March 9, 2017 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Greg Murdock will be in attendance. Join us for a glass of wine, view the new print and more of Greg's work, including a sculpture as part of our current teaching exhibition, [ab-strak-shu n]. We look forward to seeing you there.




Feb 21
Creative discovery during Spring Break

Spring Break Camp 2017.jpgSpring Break is just a few short weeks away. Keep your young one engaged in creative learning at one of our Spring Break day camps.

Kids in our Spring Visual Arts Studio Day Camps enjoy a full week of activities such as drawing, painting and printmaking.

These art camps allow kids to enhance their creative skills and explore the Smith G​allery through specifically developed AFK games and discussions. 

The ability to combine time discovering Canadian contemporary artists and their work, while creating art themselves, blends into a uniquely inspiring and enriching experience. The weeklong camp also incorporates outside recreation, weather permitting. 

Our art camps are taught by fully certified art teachers and teaching assistants. The camp for week one of Spring Break, Monday March 13 – Friday March 17, is for students in Grades 3-5 and is taught by Veis Dokhani. Week two of Spring Break is from Monday March 20 – Friday March 24. This camp is designed for students in Kindergarten – Grade 2, and is taught by Nathalie Desfosses. 

Camps are $395 for one week, and run from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The camps are almost full, so register your child today​, to ensure they have a fun, creative and memorable Spring Break.


Feb 01
North Shore News Readers Choice Awards!

RC Awards box.jpgAt AFK, we're pleased to be shortlisted for the North Shore News Readers Choice Awards 2017 for Favourite Educational Program for Kids. All our classes are taught by certified art teachers and offer young people on the North Shore with an opportunity to explore visual arts and the creative problem-solving it inspires.

We proudly offer a dozen-plus After School Art Programs for kids from K- Grade 7. Running in the Fall, Winter and Spring, these classes are as diverse as Clay Creation and Woodworking, Painting and Jewellery-Making, and our newest one, Architecture. 

In addition, we offer Spring Break and Summer Break Day Camp for kids in Kindergarten – Grade 4. These week-long camps run from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday – Friday during Spring Break, and allow kids to stay engaged with creativity during the school break, while meeting new friends and learning new skills. 

Our AFK Visual Arts Camp and Visual Arts Intensive has been inspiring young people through art and outdoor recreation for almost 25 years. This week-long residential camp brings together master art teachers with artists-in-residence, camp counselors and campers aged 8 – 18, to explore art and outdoor recreation in the stunning surroundings of Brackendale B.C.  

AFK's Studio Art Academy, for students in the senior grades looking to develop their portfolio, provides focused and enriched art education. In this specially designed program, currently hosted at Carson Graham Secondary, students develop skills and attitudes to broaden their options, encourage their success in post-secondary art studies and open the door to careers in the arts. Application for the 2017/2018 school year closes March 2, 2017. ​

"In our programs, kids of all abilities and interests thrive in a fun, supportive environment in which they learn to see the world around them in a more enriched way, and reflect that world in their work," says Yolande Martinello, Director of AFK.​

We thank everyone who took part in the voting. Winners will be announced on the last Sunday in February 2017.


Jan 17
Mentoring Emerging Young Artists

​This month, artist Erin McSaveney is working with students in the senior grades in an intensive painting program that mentors emerging young artists.

Eric McS class with students small - web.jpgRunning for three Tuesdays in January, Erin is working with AFK Education Co-ordinator, Daylen Luchsinger, to share new painting skills and techniques with the students. 

"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 allows the students to focus on an area of visual arts that can enhance their own practice and contribute to their portfolio, when considering post-secondary education.​

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This is the second time artist Erin McSaveney has worked with AFK. He was an integral part of our Paradise Valley Summer School of Visual Arts in 2015, and our program for senior campers. Erin studied at both Capilano College and Emily Carr College of Art and Design and is represented by Equinox Gallery. ​​

friends of the gallery logo.jpgThis intensive enrichment program is supported by the generous donation of The Ferry Building Friends of the Gallery Society​

These Mentoring Emerging Young Artists programs allow two selected, talented students from each of the North Shore Secondary Schools to work with Fine Arts teachers and local artists. The Ferry Building Gallery Friends Society is supporting this program for two years, providing artist-led instruction to more than 140 students.  

"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 roots and can inspire and flourish throughout their lives," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids.

Jan 03
Welcome to 2017

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

Our popular Winter After School Art Programs​ begin the week of January 9, 2017. Taught by master art teachers, these classes allow for kids to explore their imagination, delight in time away from electronics and discover the joy of creating with their own hands. Those in Grades 1-3 can uncover the techniques of famous Canadian artists with Artful Adventures on Wednesdays at the Shadbolt Studio, adjacent to the Smith Gallery, or enjoy Primarily Painting at Queensbury Elementary on Tuesdays. Students in Grades 4-7 can experience the fun of Clay Creations on Wednesdays at Carson Graham Secondary, or Wonderful Watercolour at Boundary Elementary. Many classes are already full, so register today to secure a place for your child. 

In January, we're delighted to provide two Enrichment Programs​. Students in the Senior Grades will have the opportunity to work with artist Erin McSaveney and master art teacher Daylen Luchsinger as they study photo-realism through acrylic painting. In late January and early February, students in Grade 3 will work with teachers Todd Clarke and Michelle Didier along with artist Sarah Davidson to enhance their skills through the world of mixed media.

The AFK Studio Art Academy is accepting applications from January 23 to March 3, 2017.  For those interested in learning more about this renowned portfolio program for students in the Senior Grades, please attend the North Vancouver Enhanced Programs Evening on Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Sutherland Secondary School.  

In March we're pleased to be releasing a new work as part of our AFK editions. Check back for details.  

Winter is a busy time at AFK, so we hope to see you soon at the Smith Gallery or at an upcoming event. ​

Dec 06
Wishing you a happy and creative holiday season


As 2016 winds down, we look back on the wealth of activities, events, programs and art that defined the past 12 months. 

The year began with an exhibition of the work long-time friend of Artists for Kids, Judson Beaumont , entitled Serious Fun, in the Process Gallery of the Smith Gallery.

In February, two groups of students in grade 3 spent three full days with artist Christina Norberg and master art teachers Kory Bogen and Madelyn Hambly, learning to develop sculpture and three-dimensional shapes.

In March, we released our latest print from renowned Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak. Entitled Loons Feeding, this lithograph on arches 88 paper, created in 1994, is an edition of 50 and is signed by the artist. It is one of the last editions of her work available. 

We also ran two Architecture enrichment programs, working with local architects. The photography program focused on environmental and nature photography​. Working with professional photographer Jess Findlay, the students spent three days in locations such as Lighthouse Park and Cypress Falls. The theme for their work was "Near and Far", and they experimented with depth of field and perspective.

In early April, the Smith Gallery was filled with those who love the work of one of our most dedicated artist patrons, Ross Penhall, for the launch of his book Vancouver

The thriving Art Academy mounted its year-end exhibition in June, celebrating the end of the 2015/2016 academic year.

For the 23rd year, our Paradise Valley Summer School of Visual Arts was filled with young artists, learning from artists-in-residence Damian Moppett and Lori Goldberg. 

On the weekend of September 30, we hosted Culture Days. Over three days, visitors viewed our new teaching exhibition [ab-strak-shuh n] the art and the act, and participated in a wealth of family-friendly programming. As the exhibition is about the act of creating art, as well as the finished work, the show appropriately opened with a performance of art making by George Rammell. From the lobby of the Smith Gallery, guests enjoyed a glass of wine while outside artist George Rammell shot arrows at wine glasses filled with paint, to create a distinct work of abstract art.

We've received great support for innovative programming through corporate sponsors, foundations and other non-profits. The Edith Lando Charitable Foundation supported our teacher education program. Their contribution allowed us to provide training to more than a dozen professionals involved with  our Windows to Canadian Art Teaching Team Retreat at Cheakamus Centre, in Brackendale, BC. It was a rare opportunity to bring together educators to discuss best practices and share insights into expanding the visual arts curriculum in the elementary school grades. 

Thanks to the generosity of The Ferry Building Gallery Friends Society, AFK is developing and offering 3-day workshops, three times a year, for the coming two years. These Mentoring Emerging Young Artists programs 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.

As we look to 2017, we are so grateful of the support we've received, and have new sponsors becoming part of the AFK family, ensuring art education remains a vital part of every child's educational experience.

Our offices and the Smith Gallery will be closed from Monday, December 19, 2016 through Tuesday, January 2, 2017. Our offices reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. From our families to yours, we wish you all a happy and creative holiday season.

Nov 29
​Support art education on Giving Tuesday​

At AFK, we provide young people with access to art education and the tools to reflect the world around them. In doing so, we also support the legacy of Canadian art and culture.

Today is Giving Tuesday. It's a day for making a difference in the community.

girl with messy hands.jpgPlease consider contributing to programs that help kids discover their own abilities, while learning about our community, our country and our people.

Your gift to AFK supports our work and our mission to provide vital visual arts education to young people on the North Shore.

Making a tax-deductible gift to AFK allows kids to experience art. Your gift goes a long way:

​$25 — materials for a student

$50 — bursary for a student

$150 — scholarship to an after school art program

$500 — a full day for an entire class to experience Canadian art in the Smith Gallery and create art in the studio

To give to AFK, please contact our office at 604-903-3798, or you can donate online.   

We thank you for any support you can provide.



Nov 23
​Generous donation supports Mentoring Emerging Young Artists


At AFK, we're committed to bringing artists together with students and teachers, to create an incomparable and inspiring learning environment. Now, through the generous contribution of The Ferry Building Gallery Friends Society, we're able to support additional mentoring programs that inspire and educate the next generation of artists.

friends of the gallery logo.jpgThanks to the generosity of The Ferry Building Gallery Friends Society, AFK is developing and offering 3-day workshops, three times a year, for the coming two years. These Mentoring Emerging Young Artists programs 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."

This year, we're delighted that students will have the opportunity to work with three forms of media, ceramics with artist Brendan Tang, painting and drawing with Erin McSavaney and photography with a local photographic artist.

The first three-day workshop, for students in grades 10 – 12, is with Brendan Tang and teacher Veis Dokhani. The class started on November 21, 2016 and runs for three Mondays.  ​



"Brendan is an amazing artist, a fantastic teacher and has an amazing amount of technical skill," says Daylen Luchsinger, Education Coordinator at AFK and the Smith Gallery. "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.


The art produced in this workshop, and the two to follow this school year, will be part of an exhibition at The Ferry Building Gallery, on Argyle Avenue in West Vancouver in June, 2017. The works will demonstrate the skills and inspiration that come from mentorship by professionals in the field.​

"We are so thankful for this exceptional contribution," says Yolande Martinello, Director of AFK. "Not only does it allow us reach more young artists, it's also a great vote of support for the work we do and the impact our programs have on students in our community."


Nov 15
Winter After School Art Programs Open for Registration

Our always-popular winter After School Art Programs are now open for registration. The classes begin the week of January 9, 2017. This term, we are offering a new After School Art Program, Architecture, for those in Grades 4-7.

 ASAP_Winter_2017.jpgFor five years we have proudly offered our Architecture Enrichment program. In conjunction with the RAIC (Royal Architecture Institute of Canada) we provided three full-day classes each year, bringing insight about our built environment to students in the younger grades. Students were selected by their schools to attend this popular program. "Architecture was a program that parents consistently requested, so we have made it available to students as an After School Art Program," says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids.

The new Architecture program will run on Friday afternoons for six weeks, starting January 13, 2016. The art teacher Nathalie Desfosses, will work alongside RAIC architects. The class will be held in the AFK Shadbolt Studios, adjacent to the Smith Gallery. "It's a great opportunity to explore aspects of architecture at a young age. It allows students with an interest in art and design to learn more about the language of architects and city planning," Yolande says.  

In addition to our new Architecture class, we continue to offer our other popular classes. For our youngest students, in grades K-2, we have Art for Small Hands that introduces kids to elements of drawing and painting. For those in Grades 1 – 3, we offer two classes: Primarily Painting and Artful Adventures. Other classes include Mostly Matisse for students in Grades 2-4, and Masterful Mixed Media for those in Grades 2-5. For the oldest students in Grades 4-7, we offer a range of classes: Adventures in Drawing, Watercolour, Clay Creations, Jewellery Making and Woodworking.

Winter is the busiest time for our After School Art Program, with almost all classes being filled, with a waiting list. We recommend that you register soon, to ensure your young artist can learn more creative skills this New Year. 

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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.