Summertime art is the bee’s knees

Saturday, August 23 was a great day to instill summer spirit as the season comes to a close. Busy Bees and Other Summer Creatures was one of the most unique accessible programs to date at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Classic tactile art activities were produced, but something new was added to the mix: an interactive presentation with a beekeeper.

Toronto-based beekeeper Jared Taylor was our guest program facilitator. Jared and his wife, Melanie, manage bees and produce their own honey right outside of Kleinburg. This year, the McMichael acquired bee boxes to produce local honey. Jared manages the bees, which currently live on the surrounding gallery grounds within the Humber River Valley.  Jared led an educational presentation for the participants, discussing how bees produce honey, different hierarchies of the nest and the tools used to manage the black and yellow critters as they create liquid gold.

Everyone had an opportunity to try a slice (or two!) of sticky sweet honey, right off the honeycomb. Jared’s beekeeper suit and mask added a fun spin to traditional dress up activities, while he informed the group about the use of a bee smoker and why it is a useful contraption to calm bees in the honey-collecting process.

Following the presentation, the group moved inside to produce multimedia art projects. Honeycomb Creations were the first activity, using textured candle wax in different colours to decorate a rock or flower pot. Rocks were transformed into bees, mice and other cute critters. Intricate shapes and designs added character to each insect.

The group also worked on watercolour paintings inspired by the McMichael landscape and summertime blooms. Drawings were sketched onto craft paper with colourful ink markers before artists used a sponge paintbrush to blur lines and shapes with water, adding an abstract feel.

Busy Bees and Other Summer Creatures was a full house and great way to end summer programs at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

We look forward to another afternoon of accessible and inclusive art making at Adventure of a Maple Leaf on Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

To register, please visit the McMichael website.

Members of Autism Ontario are free. Please provide your Autism Ontario membership number at time of booking. Attendants do not pay.

The Art of Inclusion: A Guide – the McMichael Canadian Art Collection makes accessible initiatives sustainable

It has been over two years since the McMichael Canadian Art Collection launched their prestigious EnAbling Change Project with support from the Government of Ontario. Two years of testing the waters with programs designed for people living with various special needs and exceptionalities. Programs for people of all ages, genders and ethnicities. Programs for people that visit the Collection for its unique atmosphere that merges art and nature. Programs that offer a different method of feeling like you belong. Programs that teach us the true meaning of “inclusion” and how it can be achieved through creative practices.

With all of this in consideration, it is my great pleasure to share with you The Art of Inclusion: A Guide – Seven Steps to Developing and Delivering Accessible and Inclusive Programs within Arts and Cultural Organizations.

This publication is the result of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s EnAbling Change project with the Government of Ontario, and outlines a seven-step process (a nod to the Group of Seven painters) for the successful design and delivery of accessible programs.

The Art of Inclusion: A Guide - Seven Steps to Developing and Delivering Accessible and Inclusive Programs within Arts and Cultural Organizations

The Art of Inclusion: A Guide – Seven Steps to Developing and Delivering Accessible and Inclusive Programs within Arts and Cultural Organizations – click the image to be redirected to the guide.


The goal of the publication is to provide a guide that will assist other arts and culture organizations in developing and implementing their own accessible initiatives, and to demonstrate the overall benefits of engaging visitors through specialized programs.

With the invaluable support of partner organizations, service providers, and industry contacts, the McMichael gained a wealth of knowledge that has allowed the gallery to offer a variety of programs to individuals with disabilities. Now, we wish to share what we have learned with others.

By offering these guidelines, the McMichael hopes that other organizations will follow the seven steps and ultimately create a more engaging and participatory cultural setting for individuals with special needs.

The guide is available to download online at:

We encourage you to spread the word about our accessible guide!

With enthusiasm,

Ola Mazzuca
Project Coordinator, Enabling Change
McMichael Canadian Art Collection


Patterns: visible in art and audible in drums

On Saturday, June 21, 2014, Canada celebrated National Aboriginal Day. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection acknowledged Aboriginal heritage by incorporating a special activity in Drumming Circle, a seasonal ArtVenture Accessible Family Art Program. Led by members of the Peel Aboriginal Network, participants learned about Aboriginal culture, listened to ancestral storytelling and followed the beat with their own drums.

The drummers and participants engaged in a smudging ceremony, a method of burning sage leaves to cleanse the spirit and connect to the earth. The driving pulse of the drums and shakers orchestrated the performance, while ears and eyes were attentive to the cultural customs before them. The traditional songs played below tall pine trees echoed through the McMichael grounds and added a positive element to the day.

ArtVenture Accessible Family Art Programs are part of McMichael Accessible Programs. This program is designed for youth aged seven and up living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other special needs. Held on a quarterly basis, caregivers, parents and siblings are invited to join in the fun process of tactile art-making activities, dramatic play and social interaction.

To learn more about accessible programs at the McMichael, visit:

We’re nominated for a ‘Versatile Blogger Award!’

Happy summer, followers!

Last week, I was pleased to discover that Jacklyn Hancock, of her self-titled blog, nominated EnAbling Change at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection for a ‘Versatile Blogger Award.’

This award works in a chain mail-like format, as each blog nominated is advised to “pay it forward” by doing the following:

•Thank the person that nominated you.
•Include a link to their blog.
•Nominate 10 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award and include a link to their blog.
•Share 7 things about yourself with the person that nominated you.

It has been such an amazing journey developing the Best Practices Guide for accessible programming at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
Sending a big thanks and shout out to Jacklyn Hancock! We appreciate your support.

1. Jacklyn Hancock Visual Artist –
2. Rolling Around In My Head –
3. The Incluseum –
4. Everybody is AOK (Autism Ontario) –
5. Take Nothing For Granted (Living With Sotos Syndrome/Autism) –
6. Autism  Speaks Canada –
7. A.R.T. Creations –
8.Enabled by Design –
9. Daily Art Fixx –
. Alzheimer’s Society Blog –

Seven things about me:

7. My name is Ola, and I am the administrator of this blog, in conjunction with my role as Project Coordinator of the EnAbling Change Project at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

6. I love all mediums of art! Among many favourites, my Canadian painters of choice are Mary Pratt and Norval Morrisseau. I am also a huge fan of photographer Peter Beste.

5. I am also a working journalist and features editor for a women’s lifestyle magazine.

4. I have a strong passion for music. With humble beginnings in music journalism, my roots of expertise are in heavy metal (and all of its sub-genres), yet my aural taste is vast. I can listen to Dancehall one minute, Puccini the next.

3. I am obsessed with culture, specifically the topic of ethnic foods.When I travel, I am at my best.

2. I do not believe in stigma, exclusion, racism or prejudice.

1. I believe in action through art, celebrating abilities and equality.

Celebrate the end of summer with an accessible art camp


“The sun is shining, birds are chirping and sky is blue.
Celebrate three summer elements with an art camp made for you!”

On Tuesday, August 27, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection brings you Artfully Yours, an accessible summer day camp. It’s the ultimate sensory experience as it merges the unique indoor/outdoor setting of the McMichael grounds.

Designed for youth aged seven and up, this program is a great sensory experience that features tactile art activities. From found objects like leaves, twigs and stones to clay and everything in between, participants will engage in art-making that is fun and open to interpretation.

A professional art instructor will lead the program from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Participants will produce artwork at their own pace throughout each guided activity with time to be social and make new friends.

End summer with a splash of paint – celebrate your creativity with this accessible art camp that’s inclusive for all!

Registration is required for Artfully Yours. For more information on the program, please visit or fill out our registration form.

Summertime Down Memory Lane – Register now!


Summertime Down Memory Lane - Register now!

There are only five days left to register for our new accessible seniors art program – Summertime Down Memory Lane.

On Saturday, July 20, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection is offering its first accessible art-viewing program for seniors.

Summertime Down Memory Lane Walking Tour is designed for seniors living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of memory loss. This interactive program exercises the brain to inspire emotion, creativity and expression in every brush stroke and drop of acrylic paint. By experiencing Canadian works of art from the Group of Seven, Inuit pieces and contemporary visionaries, participants will reconnect with their past through interpretation and nostalgia.

A McMichael program leader will engage participants in guided conversation throughout select galleries. 
Participants requiring assistance must be accompanied by an attendant.

This program is included in gallery admission.
Registration is required.
Fore more details, visit the McMichael website.

Springing into summer at Woodland Wonders


This gallery contains 3 photos.

The McMichael family art program, Woodland Wonders, was a wonderful way to begin the season. Vibrant watercolour crayons adorned canvas after canvas as participants drew everything from abstract shapes to nature scenes with perspective. Saturday, June 15 was sunny and clear … Continue reading