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

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.

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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Make 2014 a mosaic of creativity

How will you inaugurate the New Year?

If you are pining for creative expression and starting things off on a positive note, check out Canadian Mosaic on Thursday, January 2 at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

This event marks our second installment of ArtVenture Accessible Family Art Programs and we want to celebrate it with you. At Canadian Mosaic, you’ll visit the gallery to explore our vast collection of Canadian art, both classic and contemporary. At the studio, various mosaic techniques will be taught, inspiring you to apply the surrounding winter landscape and McMichael collection to your work.

Let’s make the New Year positive by building it piece by piece at Canadian Mosaic!

Register early – spots fill quickly!

Visit the program page for cost and registration information.

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The artistic side of autumn

Don’t you just love the crisp crunch sound of yellow, red and orange leaves beneath your feet? What about the cones that fall from huge pine trees, each unique like a snowflake, but a season early? Or maybe it’s that fresh smell in the air, clean and cool.

Is there a word to describe all of this at once?
Yes – it’s Fall – an inspiring season of natural aesthetic and transformational change.

Fall at the McMichael is an extraordinary experience. Whether you’re entering through the main entrance or walking on the Humber River Trails, the spirit of the Group is Seven is present and guaranteed to excite your senses.

That’s what participants of Explore Autumn encountered on Saturday, October 19.
The fall installment of our ArtVenture Accessible Family Art Programming was a full house.  New and familiar faces gathered inside the Pine Cottage art studio to dive into three different hands-on art activities:

  • Watercolour leaf rubbings: made by tracing the shape of oak, maple and birch leaves in various shapes and colours with an accessible chopstick tool. The veins of each leaf were sketched to add texture before participants added a layer of colour and a spray of water before “stamping” the shape on craft paper.
  • Vibrant watercolour marker paintings: Participants painted nature scenes on a texturized burlap canvas by using smooth markers in vibrant hues.
  • Clay scenes and sculptures: The ultimate tactile activity! By choosing from a vast palette, participants molded clay into animals or produced pictures inspired by surroundings and everyday life.

The fourth component to Explore Autumn included a sample of our Woodland Inspired® iPad Program. Participants were free to let their skills do the painting on applications that include:

  • Art Rage
  • Brushes
  • Sumo Paint

Each application offers the choice of several tools, shapes, stamps and colours. You can change the density of the mark your paintbrush makes or the texture of a pencil. Perhaps you wish to add a flower to your image – there’s a tool for that!

Parents joined to produce their own masterpieces.
Artists also sent their work as an email attachment directly from the application.

Check out the gallery below to see our iPad activity in action:

In the new year, we’ll host our next program, Canadian Mosaic, where we’ll learn about mosaic techniques, piece by piece.

We hope to see you at our winter program!
For now, enjoy autumn before the snow falls.