Squamish Arts recently launched a new series of classes in an effort to build up programming for all generations in Squamish.
Squamish Arts launched Art School in December 2022, with current classes running through March. So far, the program is averaging between six and 11 classes per month with a variety of creative mediums for different demographics.
“The idea of the program is not just to provide arts programming to Squamish, but also to allow for up-and-coming artists, emerging artists to also develop their own careers in the arts and develop their own platforms for teaching,” said Aisha Daryanani, arts administrator and programs supervisor for Squamish Arts.
Daryanani said the idea came about because Squamish Arts had been receiving feedback from the community about wanting more multi-generational arts programming.
“We haven't really ever hosted consistent programming for adults or even seniors,” said Daryanani. “Through this program, we're able to offer that and also allow for youth to have a consistent space to practice art.”
Some of the upcoming classes include hand building with clay, relief printmaking, watercolour mountain painting, oil painting and intro to improvisation. The classes have a variety of age groups; some include multiple sessions, while others only need one session.
Funding for the first four months of the programming has primarily come through a $26,500 grant the organization received, and registration prices. Even after they use all of the grant, they plan on continuing some of the core classes and hope to secure another grant to balance affordability as best they can for the community.
“We want to make this program as accessible and low barrier as possible,” said Daryanani.
Despite the recent start, the programming has already been well-received by participants.
Daryanani said an instructor heard from several participants that “they’ve been looking for art classes like this in town and haven’t been able to find anything anywhere.”
“So they’re extremely grateful that this is being offered,” Daryanani said.
And even beyond that one class, the feedback has been positive.
“They’re just excited to have a space to go and create and also engage with other people who have similar interests,” she said.
For those who may be interested in teaching a class, Daryanani said the organization is still looking for more instructors.
“We’re open to all kinds of ideas,” she said, adding instructors can teach in their own studios or host at The 55 Activity Centre. “We are definitely looking for new instructors or experienced instructors to join us.”
Overall, Daryanani said the future of the Art School program and Squamish Arts was bright.
“I’m just excited to see where this program heads and how big it grows,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a really good staple for Squamish Arts and the community in general.”
For more information about Squamish Arts and Art School, visit SquamishArts.com or find them on social media.