Sunday, 2 September 2012

How Did Art City Get Started? What Do We Do?

Art City was founded in 1998 by Wanda Koop, am internationally esteemed artist and member of the order of Canada. She recognized a need for accessible arts programming in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood. Art City is known for being one of the first organizations of its kind in Canada. Our core belief: that community art programming should be accessible to all.

West Broadway, at the heart of Winnipeg’s core area, is a culturally diverse neighbourhood. It is overcoming a long history of frequent and reoccurring social challenges, such as high rates of poverty, unemployment, and systematic discrimination.

The benefits of recreation centres that offer sports and physical activities for community residents, has been long recognized and understood by cities across Canada. However, within the community context, opportunities provided for artistic expression are rare. Art City provides this needed opportunity, serving the unique needs of the community, and making a significant and powerful cultural impact. How do we do this, you ask?

• Art City fosters self-expression in participants, and encourages a sense of community, ownership, self-respect, and pride in one’s work.
• We provide a place that is safe, comfortable, and supportive for kids and adults alike.
• We offer accessible, free-of-charge, high quality programming, with local, national, and international professional artists.
• Art City is sustainable and available to the community, day after day, year after year.
• We are a model for future community art centres.

“We are not necessarily making artists, We are giving people the opportunity to think creatively, and my feeling is that if you can think creatively, you can survive almost anything.”-Wanda Koop, Founder

Art City is open to all, regardless of age or address. The majority of Art City participants are West Broadway children between the ages of 6 and 13 years. Our programs also engage many older youth, adult, and senior participants who would not otherwise have access to such artistic opportunity. Participants and artists of all cultural backgrounds, ages, and abilities work together in collective art programming at our organization. Our studio is a positive reflection of our community.