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smiling young womanMagda improved her artistic skills and love of community in the Youth Arcade Studio

“The Youth Arcade Studio trained me to become a better artist. I’ve really developed my skills in painting, drawing and composition and I am forever grateful. But it has also given me an appreciation for community.

“Artists can get so lost in our own imagination that we forget about the folks around us. When I come into class, I’m excited about learning, but I’m more excited about the conversations. While we paint, we talk about politics, social issues, personal issues, etc. And the reason why we can do that is because we feel safe! I am free to share my thoughts because I know that I am respected, and that the people surrounding me are willing to listen.

“We all come from different backgrounds and our desire to create is sparked by diverse influences. But because we come together to make art, we feel a bond. And our location in Kensington Market, a perfect example of Canadian multiculturalism, really influences the message of belonging.

“For me personally, I can’t afford paint, brushes, and canvases but the Studio provides that for me. The financial strain is taken away so that I can create freely and without restraint. I now have a support system, new friends and most importantly, the opportunity to see myself as an artist. I now see the value in my work. I feel confident sharing my perspective with the world. This is more than just an art class, it’s a community.”