Back to the blog

Downtown Toronto Art Mentorship Program

Recently the Pathways South and Channels South groups participated in a series of art workshops. The two groups came together to create amazing art based on different concepts and techniques from art history. Twice per month our facilitator, Katie came in to teach a brief lesson about art styles followed by a related exercise. Through this experience we got to create some amazing art.

From the beginning our teacher made the process professional. We used stretched canvasses and high quality paints and paper. We sketched out our ideas in advance and planned out our works based on the lessons we were taught.  We modeled our techniques on works by Picasso and Joan Miro amongst others.

Even when working within similar genres with similar materials, each of our individual art styles shone through in our paintings. We were encouraged to use our own brush techniques that are unique to us. Some of us used paint rollers for paintings and others used brushes. We each drew subjects that were interesting to us. We had some participants paint scenes from video games and movies, TTC vehicles, characters from TV shows and more.

Since participating in this workshop all of the participants in the programs have become confident artists who have honed their styles and learned to express our own unique artistic vision.

After completing the workshops we had the pleasure of hosting our own art show on. One evening after program we came with our families and got together to appreciate what we had done.  The room was catered with fancy tables and tablecloths.  Our art was set up on easels and we felt proud to see what we had accomplished.  There was a silent auction and we sold our art.  We kept the money and it felt great to have people buy our art. We felt like we had created something amazing that people really wanted.  

Some of the things that made the night extra special were all the great speeches given by some of our own participants, and by our instructor Katie, and by Elizabeth the Visual Arts Coordinator from the Schwartz/Reisman Centre. We were even congratulated by a representative of the Honourable Chrystia Freeland and awarded a signed Certificate from the House of Commons.

Another great benefit to having the art show was that our families and staff came together and met each other. Plans were made to spend time together outside of program. Many of our families had never met each other and everyone got along great.  It helped us to feel a sense of community that brought the group together.  Even in the weeks following the event we all felt closer to each other, knowing that we had accomplished an amazing thing together!

In the words of one of the participants, “We would do it again in a New York Minute!”