Take a look at your fridge. Is it covered with stick figure drawings of your family? Now look at your walls. Find any crayon scribbles that you just can’t bear to wipe away?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you may be the parent of an artist. Fear not. There are a number of fantastic programs at museums and galleries all around the West Coast designed to help your child develop their budding passion. 

Vancouver’s North Shore

Kids First Saturdays happen every month at the Polygon Gallery and are an opportunity for families to visit the gallery and create an art project based on whatever exhibition is currently on. Projects are usually geared towards the 5 to 12 year-old set, but there is no age requirement for participants. You can pre-register here (although drop-ins are also always welcomed.)

The West Vancouver Art Museum presents the WVAM Art Jam this May, an after-school program for kids 6 to 11 years old in the Hobby Arts Workshop at the museum. It is designed to develop skills across most disciplines of art, design and creative thinking. Through projects and other hands-on learning, young artists are encouraged to express themselves through drawing, painting and mixed media sculpture, without forgetting the importance of just having fun experimenting with a variety of art materials. More info on the Art Jam can be found here

This year, The Gordon and Marion Smith Foundation for Young Artists is celebrating twenty years of funding visual arts enrichment opportunities for the children of British Columbia, continuing the lifelong mentorship by Canadian artist Gordon Smith. One such program is the Explore & Create Saturdays which returns weekly to the Gordon Smith Gallery where children 5 to 12 are invited to drop in between 1 and 3 pm and participate in art activities based on current showings in the gallery. 

Summer Art Intensive

The Artists For Kids program, also at the Gordon Smith Gallery in partnership with School District 44, offers after-school classes, and runs the gamut from drawing and painting to sculpture and printmaking, as well as Spring and Summer day camps that have the added bonus of some outdoor art-making. Info on all these programs can be found here.    


Kids Take Over at the VAG

With Kids Take Over, the Vancouver Art Gallery continues it’s nurturing of young creative minds. The exhibition features children’s responses to a selection of works from the VAG collection via text and drawings. It’s a fantastic way for kids to give their honest opinions about pieces and for adults to see what they might consider “high art” from a lower viewpoint. Also part of the show is an art-centric play place, activity booklets and a designated colouring area (although if they venture out of that border, the consequences won’t be too serious). Running until September 2022, you can plan your day trip here.


Learning the science of colour mixing

And if you can’t commit to a registered program, and are just looking for an occasional rainy day activity, check out the Burnaby Art Gallery’s Out of the BAG online art activity guides for at-home art projects. Each activity is based on works in the BAG’s Permanent Collection and come with detailed instructions designed to encourage creativity and exploration, with added context to place techniques within the wide world of visual art. 


James Hart, ´The Dance Screen (The Scream Too)

The Audain Art Museum in Whistler Village only recently launched their “After School Art” program for kids grades K-5. Running on the first and third Tuesday of each month, from 3:00-4:30 pm, the program seeks to give kids an intro to the traditional indigenous art of BC, and the various techniques used. Little ones will marvel at the extensive collection the museum is famous for, while also learning about the culture of our province’s first residents. Check out all the details here

New Westminster

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An intro to animation session

Right in step with their cutting-edge exhibitions, the New Media Gallery in New Westminster offers exciting opportunities for young artists interested in the modern and technological side of creation. Programs at the NMG Lab include courses in animation in both 2D and 3D, sound mixing and even circuitry basics where kids will build “moving, beeping and blinking works of art.” You can find more information on how to register for upcoming classes here.


A Bez performance showcase

Of course, if you’re looking to give your kids a little more hands-on artistic expression, Bez Arts Hub in Langley is a wonderful option. A dedicated performance space, Bez frequently showcases local dancers, and musicians as well as offering a mentorship program. With each program, students (both kids and adults) can cultivate their voice, and build confidence. For an idea of how the program works, Bez puts on evenings of performance that highlight student and instructor work.
Maybe this could be the push that finally gets your young ones considering what they have to say.
To read about pursuing a mentorship, you can find the application page here.

*All photos are courtesy of their gallery
*Cover photo is of The Audain Art Museum

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