Current Courses

We are not taking new memberships at this time. Courses are available to all current members. All members are welcome to express interest, even if you haven’t participated in the previous season.

Email: thewillowcommunity@gmail.com to express interest.

Spring 2021 (April – June) Digital Season

Can you believe it has been a year since we launched our digital programs?!? I’m sure we are all looking forward to the return of in-person programs, but I know the incredible successes we have had exploring this digital platform together as we connected and created this past year.

Members, I encourage you to try something new this season. Do you fancy yourself a visual artist only but would like to grow confidence in public speaking? Give improv a try! Are you a musician and would like to continue to explore your song-writing abilities? The creative writing course would be a great place to develop those skills further. The idea is to learn and practice skills, connect with peers and professional artists, and have some fun. This past year has been challenging for us folks living with mental illness/substance use disorder. Committing time each week to exploring the arts and belonging to a creative community can go a long way.

Here is a quick overview of what we are offering this season:

  • 12-week Open Studio April 5 – June 28, Mondays 1-2 PM
  • 4-part series called Instructor Talks! during the month of April
  • 4 multi-week arts training courses in Creative Writing, Watercolour, Improv, and Photography
  • Launching our collaborative member zine Manifesto
  • Songs from the Willow recording update

How to express interest:
Willow members, please read the arts training course descriptions below and email thewillowcommunity@gmail.com to let us know your first and second choices. The Open Studio and Instructor Talks! do not count as choices and are available to all members, simply let us know via email if you’d like to receive the links.

With love,
Shauna MacLeod
she/her/they/them
Director of Willow Arts Community

Open Studio

With: Shauna MacLeod & John Sweeney
she/her/they/them & he/him

April 5 – June 28
12 weeks (skipping Victoria Day May 24)
Mondays 1-2 PM

Open to all registered members

Members are welcome to pop in to say “hi” or simply listen and generate inspiration and ideas. This season we invite you to bring a creative project to work on, share a creative project with us, and come to troubleshoot and discuss possibilities with fellow Willow members. You can come to one or all 12, we will be happy to see you! John Sweeney and Shauna MacLeod will co-facilitate each week.

Instructor Talks!

Geoff Farnsworth – Thursday, April 8th 6-7 PM
Katherine Sunita – Thursday, April 15th 6-7 PM
Robin Nisbet – Thursday, April 22nd 6-7 PM
Curtis Tye – Wednesday, April 28th 6-7 PM

Open to all registered members 

Early in the pandemic last year, these four instructors found innovative ways to continue to educate and support our membership through virtual studio tours, pre-recorded YouTube lessons, and Zoom arts training class. What better way to say thanks than making them the star of the hour! Each week in April, the featured instructor will use 10 images of their choice to share what makes them unique and what inspires them as artists in Niagara. Hosted by Shauna MacLeod, we will have time after the presentation for questions and conversations. Participants are welcome to join with their videos off, so get cozy and feel free to eat dinner or a snack while you enjoy the presentation!

Telling Your Story

With: Emily Gillespie
she/her

Dates: May 7 – June 11
6 Zoom sessions Fridays 1-3 PM
12 member capacity

Open to all registered members

Telling Your Story: sharing of personal stories through creative writing
Is there a topic that you want to write about? Refine your creative writing skills and re-claim your voice as we explore raw and vulnerable stories about our lives. This class will explore life writing prompts, how to tell stories and also the professional side, as in how to edit work and get published. Some participants may enter the class with an ongoing project, and the skills learned in this class will enhance the project, others are welcome to start new projects as we explore writing prompts at the beginning of the course. The objective of this class is to provide the tools to explore life writing and gain confidence in writing skills.

Intro to Watercolour

With: Jana Bergsma
she/her/they/them

Dates: May 10 – June 17
6 YouTube videos circulated on Mondays
6 Zoom check-ins on Thursdays 1-2 PM
15 Member Capacity

Art kits can be delivered upon request or picked up from St. Catharines

This course is designed as a complete introduction to the wonderful world of watercolour painting. No experience is required! We will spend the first four weeks introducing materials and techniques. The last two weeks Jana will walk you through a painting from conception to finish. Each week you will have access to a YouTube lesson/demonstration. Weekly zoom check-ins will be useful for the group to share their work (optional), and ask questions.

Intro to Improv

With: Simon Calaycay from Improv Niagara
he/him

Dates: May 18 – June 22
6 Zoom sessions Tuesdays 1-3 PM
12 member capacity 

This 6-week online interactive course will allow folks to explore elements of improv comedy beneficial to everyday life: collaboration, respect, trust and confidence. Laugh. Learn. Launch yourself into scenes and adventures that will ignite your imagination! Artists will learn techniques and games such as “Yes And” and “What Comes Next?” and develop abilities to suspend self-judgement, boost spontaneity, connect with fellow performers and find joy in creation. The course will culminate in an online performance of games and scenes that are sure to surprise and delight! No previous experience necessary.

Landscapes 101

With: Joel Smith
he/him

Dates: May 20 – June 24
6 Zoom sessions Thursdays 6-8 PM
15 member capacity 

This course will cover the basics you need to know about making great images with whatever camera you own (including cellphones). Learn how to best use your camera to convey your creative ideas and unique expression. We will explore landscape photography from basic camera operation, composition and creating mood in camera and in post processing. Together, we will delve into tools and theory such as composition, lighting, weather, and applications for editing. At the end of the 6-week course, Member Artists will craft short artist statements and select two pieces that will be showcased on Willow Arts Community social media accounts.

Song from the Willow

In-person recording for the Songs from the Willow album have been paused again due to COVID 19. Joe Lapinski will email the class once the restrictions lift and it is safe to proceed. Thanks again for the continued patience.

Manifesto

The collaborative member zine edited by Allison Carroll will be launching this season. Members, this is the last call to submit!

Email zines.thewillowcommunity@gmail.com with questions and submissions.

A Look Ahead

Summer 2021 (July - August)

Due to the increased needs of our community because of COVID 19, we decided to run programs last summer. This Summer 2021 Digital Season (July – August) we will be offering a few Open Studios and Instructor Talks. This fall we will return to our regular schedule of providing three seasons a year:

Fall 2021 (Sept – early December)
Winter 2022 (January – March)
Spring 2022 (April – June)

We look forward to the return of in-person programs, Member Arts Showcases, and public events when we can. Staff and volunteers will be spending time this summer setting up our new studio/education space at Silver Spire downtown St. Catharines. Stay tuned to our social media for updates.

If you would like to stay connected, join our email list