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ART SMART IN ESQUIMALT: Test your creativity, learn what’s new

Parks and Rec classes offer you many ways to tap into your creative side
Budding young artists can try out a variety of mediums and draw on their creativity in Esquimalt Parks and Recreation’s ArtLab program.

If your artistic side is itching to burst out and you’re thinking of adding an art class to your new year activities, Esquimalt Parks and Recreation has some good news for you.

They’re inviting you to check out the first-ever art exhibit staged on the new rail gallery in the Atrium at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre, which gets underway with a fun-filled open house. The exhibit will feature roughly 50 paintings, drawings and fibre art works created by students, their instructors and volunteers from the multitude of art classes available to the community through Parks and Recreation.

You’re in for some hands-on fun at the open house. Set for Jan. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. it features:

  1. Pop-up artmaking Six stations, all staffed by experienced instructors from the Parks and Rec classes, will allow you to try everything from watercolour painting to storytelling through comics and other drawing forms
  2. Stitch witchery At an interactive StitchLab hosted by The Makehouse, you can learn about and try various forms of sewing
  3. Artful tunes Entertainment for the evening will be provided by Parks and Recreation music class instructors and members of the Esquimalt Ukulele Club, which just celebrated its sixth anniversary
  4. Snacks and signup info Light food and refreshments will be provided by Esquimalt Parks and Recreation. Registration details and other class information will be available on site

Community arts is for everyone

“This is a chance for people to try something creative, meet some new people and do it all at an affordable price,” Gillian Rowan, arts and culture programmer with the Township of Esquimalt, says of the classes, which start at various times through the winter and early spring.

The list of instructors features a variety of experts, including Richard Wong, who’ll teach Watercolour on Masa Paper (a traditional Japanese material); and Dixie MacUisdin, who teaches Watercolours for Absolute Beginners, for which no experience is necessary and all materials are supplied. Both will be at the open house working their respective pop-up art booths.

“For some people trying a creative activity feels a bit overwhelming or intimidating, so we’re trying to provide an opportunity for people to get involved and pursue those artistic goals in a really low-barrier approach,” Rowan says.

While the Atrium’s Art Rail is new, so are children’s ArtLab and StitchLab programs. Children and youth are very much represented in art classes at Esquimalt Parks and Recreation, which attract participants from six to those in their senior years.


If you’re not able to attend the open house, you can still find the art pieces on display at the Atrium until Feb. 15, viewable anytime the Recreation Centre is open (5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily). You can also follow Esquimalt Parks and Recreation on Facebook.

Children and adults alike can try their hand at various types of arts, including stitchery, during an open house at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre on Jan. 10, and in a variety of arts classes offered by Esquimalt Parks and Recreation.