Authored by: WAG Staff on May 31, 2019
Learning through art is a cornerstone of the WAG’s mission, and there is a new space dedicated to it opening with the WAG Inuit Art Centre in 2020. It’s been a long time coming! In 1936, WAG Studio began offering free Saturday Morning Art Classes for school children with support from the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) and the Carnegie Foundation.
When the Gallery as you know it was built in 1971, art-making programs were expanded on the lower level of the WAG and have continued to grow, moving to a larger space in the nineties and now again as we look towards next year. “Today, WAG is celebrated for running one of Canada's most unique and vibrant Gallery-run art-making programs, catering high quality classes to children, teens, and adults, and offering skills-based programming for all ages,” says Rachel Baerg, Head of Learning & Programs.
For kids who enjoy art classes at school and are hungry for more, WAG Studio provides hands-on instruction, allowing students to discover for themselves which mediums they prefer. Teens considering applying directly to post-secondary Fine Arts programs can develop portfolios with guidance from experienced instructors through WAG Studio’s focused and intensive summer sessions. Many adults enroll in WAG Studio programs to try out a new hobby, or rekindle a childhood interest. Other practicing artists sign up to create art in a group environment with accountability.
In addition to five and ten-week courses, WAG Studio offers workshops for teens and adults, which can be stepping stones for anyone wishing to explore a medium before committing to a course, or to infuse a little more art into their life. Community-focused MakerLabs, ClayMakers, and Paint Parties take place throughout the year in the WAG’s pottery studios and breathtaking Eckhardt Hall. ClayMaker and Paint Parties are also available on demand for corporate or private events.
The WAG has a long history of hiring local Winnipeg artists. Tony Tascona, Jordan Van Sewell, and Wanda Koop are among the few names of instructors from previous years. “The WAG Studio instructor pool has grown to include over 20 instructors,” says Baerg. “Through this initiative, the WAG contributes to the local cultural economy by building relationships with artists and makers, who act as WAG ambassadors in the community.”
Each year on average, WAG Studio welcomes 1500 students into its programs; 450 of whom take part in art-making activities through the generous support of the WSD’s Children’s Heritage Fund and WSD-sponsored Quantum Arts Program and Art Expression classes. Many students have their work featured in the annual Through the Eyes of a Child exhibitions at WAG@ThePark, with the support of the Associates of the WAG.
During the construction of the WAG Inuit Art Centre, opening in 2020, WAG Studio is temporarily relocated to its original space on the lower level of the Gallery and you can benefit from smaller class sizes, allowing you to experience more one-on-one time with instructors.
At the end of the renovation period, studio spaces will move to the penthouse level of the existing Gallery building. Five indoor studios will include features imagined in partnership with the young minds of the Interactive Digital Media Program at Sisler High School, plus an expansive clay studio, generating exciting new hands-on activities. There will also be two outdoor classrooms where you can carve and work on sculpture projects. Upon relocation, programming and maximum class size will increase.
Art is for everyone at WAG Studio – you can sign up now for summer classes and registration for fall session opens August 13.
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