Background

New Year. New Opportunities. Same Awesome Mission.

The Willow has been hosting free arts education programming for 8 years now, and if there is one thing we know for sure it’s this: the winter season is our most challenging. The weather rarely cooperates, instructors get sick, and we know our community has a harder time making it out into the world. Please check emails and social media along the way for any cancelations/reschedules. I encourage you to do your best and come make it through the winter blues with us in the studio. We’re here <3

I’m looking forward to seeing so many of you soon.

With hope and love,
Shauna MacLeod
she/they
Founder/Director of Willow Arts Community

Open Studio

Dates: Jan. 15 – Mar. 25 (10 Mondays)
(Skipping Family Day Feb. 19)
Time: 1 – 3 PM 

Location: Willow Arts Creative Studio at Silver Spire
Drop-in, Willow Members

The Open Studio is a great place for self-directed learning, collaboration, connection, experimentation, and sharing resources. Bring a creative project to work on, and gain inspiration by sharing space and discussing possibilities with your peers. Some basic art supplies will be available. All members are welcome.

Poetry Prose
with Dani Hummel (they/them)

Dates: Jan. 19 – Feb. 23 (6 Fridays)
Time: 2 – 4 PM
Location: Willow Arts Creative Studio at Silver Spire
Drop-in, Willow Members

This 6-week creative writing course will consider Blueness and Nostalgia (themes of reflection and emotion). This will coincide with the cyanotype course also running this season. Each class will be structured with the first thirty minutes focusing on providing education and discussion, and will include a minimum of one full hour to write. There will be time for peer editing and sharing. Members will have the opportunity to submit their work to be published in a collaborative book alongside the experimental photography course. This course will be provided again in the spring and fall seasons.

Experimental Photography: Cyanotypes
with Amber Lee Williams (she/her)

Dates: Feb. 15 – Mar. 28 (6 Thursdays)
(Skipping Feb. 22)
Time: 2 – 4 PM
Location: Willow Arts Creative Studio at Silver Spire
REGISTRATION FULL, Willow Members 

Throughout this 6 week course, participants will learn how to create cyanotypes using both physical objects (photograms) and negative transparencies (photographs). There will also be a focus on sustainable bleaching and toning processes. With the subject of Blueness and Nostalgia in mind, themes of reflection and emotion will be explored through different methods. Members will have the opportunity to submit their work to be published in a collaborative book alongside the poetry: prose courses. Experimental photography courses will be provided again in the spring and fall seasons.

Songs from the Willow
with Joe Lapinski (he/him)

Dates: Feb. 21 – Mar. 27 (6 Wednesdays)
Time: 1 – 3 PM 

Location: Willow Arts Creative Studio at Silver Spire
By Registration, Willow Members

Join us for this 6-week song writing session where we will collaboratively write an original song for The Willow Choir to sing next season. We’ve all got a song inside of us that needs to be revealed. We’ll look at a wide variety of techniques that will help in the process of songwriting: listening to music together, writing exercises, meditation, discussion, collaboration, and more!  All members are welcome, no previous experience necessary.

Fibre Arts Fridays
with Quinn Oberlein (she/her)

Dates: Mar. 1 – Mar. 22 (4 Fridays)
Time: 2:30 – 4 PM
Location: Willow Arts Creative Studio at Silver Spire
Drop-In, Willow Members and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community

Join us for a 4-week experimental fibre arts course where we will explore innovative ways to create creatures/characters out of discarded and unwanted materials. Materials could be scraps of fabric, yarn, polyfil etc. All materials can be used within their traditional methods but it’s encouraged to think outside of the box and create new approaches that can expand your relationship with fibre arts. No previous experience necessary.

Songs from Turtle Island

with Nicole Joy-Fraser (she/her)

Dates: Mar. 5, 12, 19 (3 Tuesdays)
Time: 1 – 3 PM
Location: Willow Arts Creative Studio at Silver Spire
Drop-In, Willow Members, Indigenous Friends

Nicole Joy-Fraser. Niagara-based performing artist, Bear Clan, Horse Lake F.N., will be introducing us to hand drum songs (both original and shared), smudge ceremony, and teaching Anishnaabe ways of knowing. She will be sharing her journey of personal decolonization and reclamation and will bring her bundle. Folks will find inspiration or be able to reflect from the sharing with their artwork and each time we come together we will share songs, touch upon new themes, and share in conversation.

Indigo Resist Dyeing
with Daya Lye (she/her)

Date: Saturday, Mar. 9
Time: 1 – 4 PM
Location: Willow Arts Creative Studio at Silver Spire
By Registration, Willow Members 

We will use a variety of techniques to create unique, natural textiles, with completed garments, or fabrics to use for future projects. Experience the magical quality of natural indigo dye as we watch it transform before our eyes as it oxidizes, and capture the unique moment in time that we’ve created something new. Participants will be encouraged to embrace the balance between control and acceptance that occurs with natural dyeing. No previous experience necessary.

Document Day
with Amber Lee Williams (she/her)

Date: March 23
Time: 1 – 5 PM
Location: Willow Arts Creative Studio at Silver Spire
By Registration, Willow Members 

There has been so much great art happening in our studio – so let’s take some great photos! Quality documentation of artworks is an important part of developing a professional arts practice. Each 20 minute session will include documentation and editing of up to 3 artworks. Additionally, participants will have an opportunity to gain hands-on experience by assisting in the documentation process, acquiring valuable insights and techniques for independently capturing their work in the future. This workshop is rescheduled from the Fall 2023 season and priority will be given to members who singed up then.

unscene
Willow Arts Group Show

Submission Dates: May 16, 17, 2024
Exhibition Dates: May 24 – June 15, 2024
Opening Reception: May 31, 2024
Location: Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts/Brock University, Visual Arts Gallery

Save the date and start thinking about what you would like to exhibit at this years annual exhibition. We are planning studio programs to help support new work in April and May, and we can provide some help with art supplies and materials (upon request). The theme of the show is unscene, and we are asking members to explore ideas around their presence and connection to the overall St. Catharines art scene. How do we fit? Where do we belong? Why does our work matter? And how can our voices be heard?

How to Participate 

Current Willow Members
Opportunities marked as “Drop-In” are available to all Willow Members. You do not need to register or let staff know if you can or can not make it. Email Shauna and let them know if you are interested in participating in a registered course or workshop (Experimental Photography, Songs from the Willow, Indigo Dye, Document Day).

Email [email protected] (PREFERRED) or text/call 905-328-9277 if you need support or have any questions.

How to join Willow Arts Community
Folks must first register as a Willow Member before attending programming. Registration can take 1-14 days. Visit our website to learn more and email [email protected] to begin the process.

Memberships and all opportunities are free and available to adult (18+) artists and creatives with lived or living experience of mental illness/substance use in Niagara. No formal referral required and previous experience isn’t necessary to learning new skills, creating art, and meeting awesome folks.

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