Embrace LIFE at the McMichael this spring

On Thursday, April 24, 2014, McMichael Canadian Art Collection will be launching the second edition of the popular LIFE Academy program in partnership with Kerry’s Place Autism Services. The McMichael has adapted elements from LIFE to offer a unique program that provides opportunities for youth to express and develop creative talent, while encouraging social engagement through art.

The consecutive weekday sessions for youth aged 18 and up is designed for individuals living with special needs or are living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Scott and Daniel work on their final paintings during the winter session of the LIFE Academy program at the McMichael on December 9, 2013.

Scott and Daniel work on their final paintings during the winter session of the LIFE Academy program at the McMichael on December 9, 2013.

The program is led by instructors from the McMichael and LIFE Academy who are experienced in the needs and supports that are valued by people with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders).

Students will experiment with art by using techniques and various mediums (paints, pencils, watercolour and charcoal) while gaining knowledge of Canadian Art history.Through this process, they will grow confident and fearless in the new endeavours that life brings. 

Thursdays: April 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2014 (six weeks)
10 am to 2 pm

At the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg

Fee: $150 (includes all art materials)

To register please contact:

Kerry’s Place Autism Services
RoseAnn Punnett
Email: roseann.punnett@kerrysplace.org

Or

905.841.6611 extension 339

Questions?

905.841.6611 ext 339
905.893.1121 ext. 2529 (McMichael)

 

3 Reasons Why Canadians (and Everyone Else) Should Stop Using the 1 in 68 Autism Stat (For Now)

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Here’s a thought provoking piece for you in light of World Autism Day.

Originally posted on Gingerheaddad:

Well, well, well. Just in time for World Autism Awareness Day, there is a very highly publicized new stat about autism. This number will be used and referred to many times on April 2, 2014. It will be etched in stone and be forever called the “autism rate” or “rate of autism.”

The media coverage of the new prevalence numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been nothing short of disappointing and shallow.

Then again, none of us should be reading about science or medicine via press release and that is what most media coverage of science and medicine is.

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March Break Masterpiece

During the week of March 9, 2014, youth across Ontario took full advantage of their mid-winter break. With another snowstorm in the Greater Toronto Area, it seemed that the season of cold and ice had just begun. But some kids spent time warming up to activities far from the ordinary indoor, movie-watching and online gaming.

March break is a whole other world at the McMichael. Without entering a classroom or opening a textbook, it’s an educational experience that’s unique, fun and inspiring. Last week, we hosted March Break Special, our first accessible and inclusive March break program. We were able to accommodate the needs of new and returning participants, while introducing exciting multisensory projects.

The three day program followed a different theme during each session. On the first day, instructor Anna taught the group how to use stencils, paints, oil pastels and engraving tools to make images inspired by the Arctic. After a visit to the gallery to view First Nations and Inuit art, (including a larger than life Narwhal tusk!) the group returned to the studio. Everyone finished off the day with multimedia stamp prints, using plasticine, natural found objects like shells and leaves, and paint.

Well rested and ready for round two, the group returned on Thursday, March 13 to delve into the surrounding landscape. Participants were inspired to make their own tree sketches after experiencing the different textures of bark, branches and pine needles. The group went for a walk in the sunshine to collect an array of pine cones in different shapes and sizes for the next activity. After lunch, the group proceeded with drawing beautiful branches and curvy leaves with textured pastels and vibrant watercolour paints.

To end off the day, participants exited their comfort zone by creating interpretive scenes of horizons, sunsets and surrounding landscape, using thick acrylic paint, sand and salt. By using cardboard combs, chopsticks and forks to create lines smooth and squiggly, the ultra sensory activity was enjoyed by all – even parents sat down to revel in the therapeutic element.

On the final day of camp, the group made three dimensional sculptures with Plaster of Paris. The special product is a modeling clay made by adding water to a fine powder solution. The solution heats up and can be placed inside a confined space, like a balloon, where it can be slowly molded into different shapes by hand. As the plaster cools, bumps and curves form. When this handmade stone is removed from the balloon, it can be painted with vibrant colours or carved into intricate designs.

It was a beautiful day on the McMichael grounds, so we decided to take a walk on the path leading to the Humber River Trail, which is located just below the wedding hill, behind the gallery. The group created their very own sculpture garden, complete with snow inukshuks, porcupines, forts and even a large rabbit!

After some Vitamin D from eating lunch and being in the sun, everyone relaxed by molding Play Clay into various shapes. Some participants made nature scenes with bark and pine cones, while others created key chains and paper weights. Using earthy cream, green and brown colours, the group created beautiful nature inspired works. Some members wanted to mimic Inuit art, swapping ivory stone for Ivory soap to make their own sculptures using safe wooden tools.

As the sun tucked behind the clouds, the Artists’ Studio was filled with triple-threat, multimedia artworks completed by three young artists within three days. We may have seen better weather in previous years, but nothing compared to the fantastic art created at March Break Special.

The group says, "sunshine!" as I take a photo. March Break Special was a blast!

The group says, “sunshine!” as I take a photo. March Break Special was a blast!

See you at the McMichael on June 21 for Drumming Circle, the summer edition of our popular ArtVenture Accessible Family Art programs. With a First Nations percussion performance, art making and outdoor exploration, it’s a program you don’t want to miss!

Beat the winter blues – hang out at the McMichael!

“What are you doing this March break?” is the age-old question we all hear before the mid Winter week of relaxation arrives. IMG_9376

If you’re not hanging out on a beach, get creative and cozy with art at the McMichael.

From March 12 to March 14, 2014, we will be offering March Break Special, our latest ArtVenture camp.

March Break Special is an accessible program designed to accommodate youth with various special needs. It’s a fun and engaging way to learn about art and nature in our inspiring environment and galleries.

The three day camp will be held from Wednesday, March 12 to Friday, March 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Parents/guardians, caregivers and support workers are able to attend with the participant free of charge.

Participants will experience a variety of different art forms by using unconventional tools and materials for the ultimate tactile art experience.

From line and colour to shape and texture, classic art elements will be applied in this self-directed creative process, as each participant completes activities at their own pace.

There will be opportunities to explore the great outdoor grounds (weather permitting) and gallery spaces, and time for snack breaks will be provided.

Please see the itinerary below for an example of what we will be creating:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014Printmaking:
We will begin our camp by exploring:

  • plasticine relief prints,
  • molding printing plates out of clay,
  • Styrofoam engraving with beautifully blended watercolours

Thursday, March 13, 2014Mixed Media:
By taking inspiration from the Group of Seven, we will use different materials to create:

  • textured paints,
  • nature rubbings with found objects and
  • watercolour and chalk pastel drawings.

Friday, March 14, 2014Make It 3D with Sculpture:
The influence of First Nations and Inuit art will help us explore  three dimensional shapes, forms and textures by using various materials to create:

  • abstract sculptures,
  • soap carvings and
  • Air-dry clay figurines.

Costs:
Three – day accessible mini camp:
General Public: $50
McMichael members: $40

Per – day basis:
General Public: $20/day
McMichael members: $16/day

Registration is required. Please contact:

(P) 905.892.1121 extension 2209 or (E) bookings@mcmichael.com

Celebrating LIFE with art at the McMichael

Since November 4, 2013, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection has been the Monday stomping ground for five talented youth. Members of Kerry’s Place Autism Services completed a six week partnership program with the organization. The LIFE  (Learning Independence Through Facilitated Education) Academy Program is a course offered to youth aged 18 and up, which is a socially interactive experience that develops life skills for post secondary education, independent living and employment. Drawing from the surrounding landscape and history, each participant completed a portfolio of vibrant works worthy of exhibition.

The program was taught by McMichael educator Christina Kerr, and Emmanuel Elkabas-Besnard, an instructor from Kerry’s Place and a professionally trained artist currently pursuing a Fine Arts Degree at York University. It was a great opportunity to merge teaching methods in a free-flowing environment against the stunning winter backdrop of the Humber River Trail.

Each week, the students intently worked on rough sketches and paintings. They also visited the gallery to experience the current exhibition You Are Here: Kim Dorland and the Return to Painting. Students had the opportunity to hear from the Toronto-based artist during a gallery talk, where they learned about his painting techniques and the influence of Tom Thomson,  members of the Group of Seven, and other Canadian artists on his own work.

On Monday, December 9, the participants of LIFE Academy at the McMichael celebrated their final day by completing their portfolio pieces, inserting them into customized canvas bags. The group listened to Electro-Jazz, The Tragically Hip and St. Germain compilations during each brushstroke and pencil sketch. Kerr and Elkabas-Besnard awarded each participant their own certificate of completion. Before heading out into the brisk winter weather, the artists made a toast with piping hot chocolate and cookies.

It was a sweet ending to an awesome program that created new friendships and inspired innovative techniques. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see these pieces on our walls someday, parallel to Thomson and the greats.

The LIFE Academy gather for a group photo in fron of the McMichael sign on December 9, 2013. From left to right: Stephanie Lee, Christina Kerr, Rebecca Ribchester, Daniel Ciccarelli, Tommy Deonauth, Emmanuel Elkabas-Besnard and Scott Lee.

The LIFE Academy gather for a group photo in front of the McMichael sign on December 9, 2013. From left to right: Stephanie Lee, Christina Kerr, Rebecca Ribchester, Daniel Ciccarelli, Tommy Deonauth, Emmanuel Elkabas-Besnard and Scott Lee.

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Specialized Santa visits for children with autism

Our partner organization, Kerry’s Place Autism Services will be at five Oxford Property malls in the Greater Toronto Area to provide support this holiday season. Children with autism will have the chance to visit Santa Claus in a tranquil setting from 9 to 11 a.m. at the following locations:

  • Square One, Missisauga
  • Scarborough Town Centre
  • Hillcrest Mall, Richmond Hill
  • Upper Canada Mall, Newmarket
  • Yorkdale, Toronto

Check out the article published yesterday in the Toronto Star for details.
A truly joyful way to celebrate accessibility and incluson this season!   

The Everest Report: Santa and Eddie Izzard

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One of our accessible program participants has great taste in comedy. James Everest catches Eddie Izzard at Massey Hall in his most recent post on the Autism Ontario blog.

Originally posted on Everybody is AOK:

EVEREST REPORT 2013James Everest is a young man living with an autism spectrum disorder. Every week he generously blogs about his activities. He does a lot more than most of us!

Hey everyone. I had another busy week. Monday I had fun with the kids at Early Years. Later I had speech therapy and went to drums with dad. Tuesday I read to the toddlers at Sixteenth Avenue Public School. Then my dad picked me up and we met my aunt for sushi. Wednesday Mike came to visit me at SAPS. Later I went to hand drums with dad, Cody and Heidi. Thursday I read to the kids at Early Years. Later I went bowling with Michael and Jeffrey. Friday I visited dealerships with dad.

Saturday, we pick up mom from the airport. Then I have swimming and the Autism Ontario Christmas Party. Later I’m going to see Eddie Izzard at Massey…

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