Art Studios Open as Programming Expands

One of the centrepieces of United’s programming, the art studios, are welcoming residents back after being closed because of COVID for about five months. The studios are a welcoming home for budding – and professional – artists who can enjoy bright, well-stocked spaces for their creative projects. All residents are welcome, from lifelong artists to anyone who wants to have fun and create for the first time. This may be the perfect time to work on a project or learn and new technique.

Fish Creek resident Olive Hein takes advantage of the re-opened studio
Fish Creek resident Olive Hein takes advantage of the re-opened studio

“It’s comforting to be back,” said Amy Bouchard, a creative facilitator at Fish Creek. “It’s been great interacting with the residents in the studio.”

The facilitators developed a wide variety of programs to accommodate the physical distancing required under the current COVID protocols. Some programs, such as painting, could be done in a resident’s suite, but until recently, group programs were cancelled until small groups could be accommodated. Expansion of the programming has been welcomed by the residents. For instance, sketching workshops have been held in the courtyard and more recently in the art gallery.

“It means a lot to me to have the studio open again,” said resident Olive Hein. “I would normally use it every day. It’s my second home.” During COVID, Olive had a supply of watercolours in her suite and a variety of projects to pursue. “But I like using acrylics, so it’s nice to have access to them again in the studio. I have a spot in the studio that I use regularly. It’s nice and quiet and the surroundings really help spark the creativity.”


A socially distanced pottery class at Fish Creek
A socially distanced pottery class at Fish Creek

“At Fish Creek, the studio is open for individual projects, but group activities have been moved just outside the studio to our art gallery,” said Amy, who is a professional artist. “There is a great deal of open space that gives us the opportunity to hold workshops while maintaining appropriate distancing. Usually we have paint brushes and the like within easy reach at the work spaces, but for now, residents have to ask for any tools they need, just so we can sanitize them after use.  And having workshops in the gallery means we have quick access to the studio should we need something there.”

At Garrison Green, access to the studio is giving residents a wider choice of workshops, and a greater ability to pursue individual projects.

“I think it’s very important to have the studio open again,” said Garrison Green creative facilitator Maddison Klein. “The studio is a great place to socialize – at a distance of course – and to find inspiration for individual creativity.”

Louise Dean concentrates on a project in the Garrison Green art studio
Louise Dean concentrates on a project in the Garrison Green art studio

For several weeks, the programs resuming at both communities have been expanding. A workshop this week at Garrison Green focused on perspective and composition, teaching students the how-tos of creating a foreground, middle ground and background in their drawings and paintings. This past week the creative team put on a virtual gallery tour in the theatre as well as an art history program. Workshops this weekend include watercolour, poetry illustration and a clay demonstration to top it all off.

“I had been in the studio a lot, and to be able to go back in again was absolutely wonderful,” said Garrison Green resident Louise Dean. “You can do whatever interests you and the facilitators are there to help with advice if you need it. I like the clay work and really enjoyed working on the wheel before everything closed down. I’m also in the fibre arts group. I do crocheting so there’s a lot that I’m involved with.”



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The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once we are able to do so. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

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