It’s hard to believe the first 6-weeks of online classes are coming to an end. Are you slowly becoming more adjusted to this new “normal”? If there is one thing many of us folks living with mental illness/substance use have in common, it’s resiliency. Another thing we may share is the challenge of reaching out when we’re struggling. So let us reach out to you through another 6-weeks of virtual art classes.

My role is to encourage your participation and offer any supports you may need along the way to help you stay linked in with the Instructors and your fellow Member Artists. This will be our first time offering classes during the summer months, so If we don’t have enough interest to run the full program, we will simply relaunch in the Fall.

Some of our Member Artists are finding it difficult to make art or connect with our digital program during this time. For others, this new digital platform has removed barriers to participating. Willow Arts Community will return to in-person classes once we can, and in the meantime continue to explore ways to reach our membership through technology.

We have room for new folks to join Willow Arts Community. If you are 18+ and are an artists or creative with lived experience of mental health/substance use in Niagara, please reach out via phone 905-328-9277 or email Membership is free, as are the classes.

Our Instructors have put together another fantastic series of classes, and I’m sure there is something here for everyone. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions and stay connected via social media.

With much love and in good health,
Shauna MacLeod
Founder/Director and Fellow Member Artist


Photography 101 and Beyond

With Joel Smith
Beginner to Intermediate

Dates: June 23 – July 28
Submission Deadline August 2

Class Format:
6 Zoom sessions with Instructor and Fellow Member Artists Tuesdays 6-8 PM
Email weekly assignments to Instructor by Saturday 7 PM

“The best camera is the one you have.” – Chase Jarvis. This course will cover the basics you need to know about making great images with whatever camera you own. Learn how to best use your camera to convey your creative ideas and unique expression. We will explore different styles of photography including landscapes, street, portrait, and photo-journalistic. Together, we will delve into tools and theory such as composition, lighting, and phone applications for editing. At the end the 6-week series, Member Artists will craft short artist statements and select two pieces that will be showcased on Willow Arts Community social media accounts.

Interpretive Illustration

With Andrea Eby
Beginner to Advanced

Dates: June 22 – July 31
Submission Deadline- August 2

Class Format:
6 written and YouTube lessons delivered via email on Mondays
Email weekly submissions to Instructor by Thursdays 2 PM
6 Zoom sessions with Instructor and fellow Member Artists Fridays 1-2 PM (optional but recommended)
Follow up via email from Instructor on Sundays

Experience what it is like to be hired to create illustrations for a greeting card line. Put yourself in the role of a professional Illustrator and work directly with the art director, role played by course instructor Andrea Eby. At the end of the 6-week series, illustrators will be offered a basic contract to sign which would allow Willow Arts Community to reproduce chosen artwork for use on greeting cards. This limited copyright will be for fundraising purposes only. Each student will receive a sample pack of complimentary Willow Arts greeting cards regardless if they opt out of the contract or not. The cards make great gifts, portfolio samples, and promotional mailers. Member Artists will have the opportunity to purchase additional cards for themselves, family, friends, etc. Prices TBD

This class is appropriate for all artistic skill levels. Basic knowledge of the internet, taking photos and email capabilities necessary.  Supplying own basic art materials required. Submissions can include but are not limited to: Ink, colour pencils, markers, watercolour, acrylic paint, chalk, pastel, charcoal, collage, sculpture, fiber arts, digital art, crafts, and typography. Oil paint not recommended due to its slow cure time.

Writer’s Workshop: Finding Your Writer’s Voice Through Poetry and Prose

With John Sweeney
Beginner to Intermediate

Dates: June 23 – July 30

Class Format:
Workshop content delivered via email on Tuesdays (6 total)
6 Zoom sessions with Instructor and Fellow Member Artists on Thursdays 2-4 PM

Using samples from poets such as W.B.Yeats, Sylvia Plath, Langston Hughes, Zadie Smith, and Kayla Zaga, Member Artists will have a chance to explore different themes, styles, and skills to both deepen and sharpen their written expression both fictional and non-fictional in style. Each class will include prompts, free writes, small group sharing, listening, and discussions.  We will be using poetry and short prose pieces as starting points; however, the major emphasis of the workshops will be to deepen and sharpen your own written voice in whatever written forms you choose. Member Artists will be encouraged to submit their final piece to the Quaran-zine (Willow’s seasonal publication).

Songs from the Willow – Online Edition

With Joe Lapinski
Beginner to Intermediate

Dates: June 24 – July 29

Class Format:
6 Zoom sessions with Instructor and Fellow Member Artists on Wednesdays 6-8 PM
Email weekly submissions to Instructor by Mondays 7 PM

Each week Joe will introduce a specific “genre” or “style” of music and the class will examine and explore what makes it “tick”, including pop, rock, jazz, country, and folk. We will use our discoveries and some background knowledge to work on composing songs, whether it be lyrics or musical compositions, inspired by the style examined that class.

Our discoveries may lead to complete songs, or simply the seeds to songs that we pursue outside of class. The idea is to open ourselves up to styles that may be both familiar and unfamiliar to us. We’ll spend time examining what works and doesn’t work with the music, as well as what we would do different in our own music. Member Artist will be encouraged to perform their music for class members, and we will discuss sharing our music on the Willow Arts Community social media accounts.


Ongoing project open to all Member Artists
No registration required. Please reach out for details

Deadline to Submit: July 31, 2020

Hearing Voices: Chatter from the Willow is a seasonal, collaborative zine that acknowledges the perspectives and topics relevant to artists living with mental illness/substance use in Niagara. We aim to capture the heartbeat of the Willow, and share it with the wider community to inspire, educate, reduce stigma, and highlight the talents and points of view of our Member Artists.

Project Details: Member Artists are invited to digitally submit up to 5 original visual arts (drawings, paintings, collages), creative writing pieces (short stories, poetry), articles of interest (conduct interviews, research something relevant), and other forms of self-expression.

Peer Support Check-In

With Shauna MacLeod

Mondays 1-2 PM
No registration required. Please reach out for details

Join in via Zoom each Monday from 1-2 PM. Come by and say hi, share your artwork, ask questions, and connect with your peers. This is open to all Willow Member Artists and Instructors. Join in from wherever you feel comfortable. It’s a friendly space to just be as you are. Pets are very welcome!

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

How to Sign-up for Classes

Call: 905-328-9277
IM: Instagram / Facebook

Please let us know the following:
1. Are you a registered Willow Member Artist?
2. What are you 1st & 2nd choice of classes?

The Peer Support Check-In and the Quaran-zine Project are available to all Member Artists and do not count towards your 1st or 2nd choice of classes. Simply let us know if you are interested for more info.

Once registration is closed, the Instructors will email you with specific details about the class.

Please continue to use the private Facebook Group to share your work and ask questions. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Shauna with any questions. 

Art Supplies & Materials for Classes

During our regular programming, Willow Arts Community provides access to basic art supplies and materials. However, during the COVID-19 quarantine we will not be able to provide art supplies. When you reach out to sign-up for classes, we will let you know the list of suggested materials needed for each class.

Please note: the sculpture, spoken word, and ongoing zine project all use materials you already have at home

Program Delivery & Technology

During our regular programming, we meet in person at the beautiful Rodman Hall Art Centre. However, during the COVID-19 quarantine we will be using new ways to connect and create. Each class offers unique ways to participate.

All classes will use the program Zoom. We will be hosting Zoom info sessions Monday, April 27th and Friday, May 1st 1-2 PM to get folks comfortable with the new technology. Check out the private Facebook group or email us at for more details.

Zoom is free and user friendly.