Artsjunktion continues to cultivate its presence as a leading community arts hub

by Rosanna Hempel

ArtsJunktion’s first-ever Open House event attracted a full house.

On Tuesday, September 17, the charitable organization opened its doors after hours to offer reclaimed art supplies and workshop information in time for the beginning of the school year.

Executive director, Julie Kettle, said Artsjunktion wants to provide ideas, supplies for teachers to “stock up,” and promote their workshops.

The depot, located on William Avenue in the Exchange District, offers free workshops two times a month. They provide donated, reusable materials to the public on a “take-what-you-need” and “pay-what-you-can” basis.

Springwell School teacher Shannon Shewchuk, 46, searches through supplies to enrich her classroom environment at ArtsJunktion’s first-ever Open House on September 17, 2019. /ROSANNA HEMPEL

“All our donations come to us through partnerships we have with individuals and manufacturing companies,” said Kettle.

Springwell School teacher Shannon Shewchuk, 46, traveled over an hour from the Lac de Bonnet area to attend the event in search of ideas and supplies for her lessons.

“I try to get as many free supplies as I can because it being a smaller rural school, you know, you don’t have much more budget,” said Shewchuk.

Since its inception in 2007, ArtsJunktion has grown into an organization with 2,000 members.

“I feel like there are very few spaces that have kind of a meeting place for all different life stories,” said 32-year-old Kettle.

Twenty-year-old, Eight McKay, who has been interning at ArtsJunktion through Resource Assistance for Youth, Inc. for the past two months, was on hand demonstrating pin-making.

ArtsJunktion intern Eight McKay, 20, displays pins she made at ArtsJunktion’s first-ever Open House on September 17, 2019. /ROSANNA HEMPEL

“My favourite part is meeting everybody that comes through here and just talking to people,” McKay said.

Volunteer Christian Reyes, 26, was drawn to ArtsJunktion through friends in 2016 before deciding to lend his time to the organization.

“I think it benefits everyone here,” said Reyes. “Positively, creatively, and anything that just brings up a lot of joy and hope in all those people that are pursuing their creative dreams.”