Earlier this week I had the opportunity to tour ArtStarts on Richards, just off Robson. This is the headquarters of a province-wide not-for-profit program to bring schools together with local artists through performances, programs, and exhibitions.
Founded in 1996, ArtStarts programs have reached half a million students each year and in 2006 they became the first public gallery in Canada dedicated to young people’s art.
The ArtStarts space is currently hosting “Grow“, an exhibition consisting of works from various children and youth around BC. New Westminster, Chemainus, and Mount Pleasant all currently have student works on display after working with artists in residence at their schools.
The theme of “Grow” was to learn about the environment and ecology around their schools. Some classes went to salmon spawning streams, others collected dried leaves and petals to create their art. Often the program merged with a science lesson or even performance art.
While the gallery hosts two exhibitions a year (with “Grow” lasting until late summer) they also have monthly activities that are free for the community.
Tomorrow they will present “Act Up with DuffleBag Theatre” at 11:00am and 1:00pm. Parents and children are welcome to drop-in to watch fairy tales come to life. The next performance will be May 28th with West African songs presented by “Drumming with Fana Soro” also at 11:00am and 1:00pm.
ArtStarts is located at 808 Richards Street and you can also find them on Twitter or Facebook. They have a full online directory of the artists in their program that are either on tour or available in-classroom. Their gallery and meeting space is also available for rent.