Art City hosts free art classes for all ages

By: Rainah Uhl

On Broadway Avenue, nestled between two businesses, a bright green building with a bicycle fastened to the roof is an eye-catching fixture in West Broadway neighbourhood. 

Art City, the non-profit community art studio, has provided free art programs for Winnipeggers over the last two decades. 

“As an artist, it’s very rewarding to have a job in your field, especially one that engages with the community,” said Hanna Reimer, a local artist and program coordinator at Art City. 

Reimer is a multidisciplinary artist whose work is all over the city, but she said she credits her work at the community studio for enriching her practice. 

“I’m responsible for ARTsquad, a group of 15 youth ages 12 to 15,” said Reimer. “Youth who have been involved in ARTsquad have grown up to be staff members at Art City.” 

Art City’s eye-catching studio front located on 616 Broadway in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Rainah Uhl)

For college students looking to hone their talents or express themselves, Art City provides different classes for all ages. March’s studio calendar includes ceramics, digital art, film photography, and an Indigenous Art Program every Saturday. 

“There’s a huge misconception that Art City is only for young people,” said Riva Billows, a former Red River College Polytechnic student who started volunteering at Art City in December. 

“On a typical day, there is usually more youth than adults, but I’ve experienced classes with people ages 2 to 70.”

The studio promotes an inclusive, 2SLGBTQA+-friendly space with daily snacks and art supplies during classes.

“We all eat together — staff, volunteers, and participants,” said Billows. “It’s hard to put into words how meaningful it is to sit and share a meal with everyone.” 

A shared daily meal aligns with Art City’s continued goal of providing accessible art programming for all. 

“Saturday’s Indigenous Art Programming is important for so many reasons,” said Billows. “There is so much artistry and culture woven into Indigenous artistic mediums, and it’s really cool, for lack of a better word, for Art City to provide a space to learn and make.”

“It’s cool to imagine what the world would be like if everybody had the chance to engage in their favourite mediums without a financial barrier,” said Reimer.

For students, especially those struggling with intensive college courses, art enhances well-being and provides a meditative outlet during stressful times

“Students are welcome to come to classes,” said Josh Ruth, managing director at Art City. “You can also volunteer — it’s an excellent way to get to know people in the community, including our amazing team of practicing artists.”