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


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.

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.