Siobhan Rich from ArtStarts Talks About Children’s Art Education

Childhood is filled with wide-eyed wonder and an unquenchable thirst for adventure

Siobhan Rich from ArtStarts knows this and leverages this ideal time for children. It’s all about giving children the chance to experience art and fully embrace their creativity in the best environment possible. Read on to learn how ArtStarts makes this happen.

See all the workshops that ArtStarts offers here.

Tell us a bit about ArtStarts and yourself.

ArtStarts in Schools is a not-for-profit organization that promotes art and creativity among BC’s young people. We work with teachers, artists and parents to make it possible for young people to experience the arts firsthand. I’m the Communications Manager at ArtStarts, so I’m excited to share stories of young people who grow and thrive through the arts.

Why is art and creativity for young people important for the community?

Art and creativity are important throughout your life. Young people who are involved in the arts grow up to be curious and innovative adults. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in the arts, you’re free to wonder, imagine, and experiment. Throughout the creative process, you’re challenged to ask questions, think about things from a different perspective and develop your own creative solutions. Not only are you learning in a new way, you’re also developing new ways to express yourself. When you light the creative spark at a young age, amazing things can happen.

Tell us about ArtStarts on Saturdays and ArtStarts at River Market.

Once a month, we offer free arts workshops or performances for families both at the ArtStarts Gallery in Vancouver and at River Market in New Westminster. Each month features a different professional artist and we aim to feature a range of artistic disciplines and cultures. Recent events have included everything from West African drumming to hip-hop to printmaking with household items like yo-yos and pasta makers. It’s exciting to see how both kids and parents really get involved in the action and discover the joy of trying new things together.

Tell us about the gallery.

The ArtStarts Gallery is the only free, public gallery in Canada exclusively dedicated to young people’s art. Exhibitions feature artwork created by Kindergarten to Grade 12 students from across BC who have worked directly with professional artists in their schools, supported by Artists in the Classroom grants. Each piece in an exhibition tells the story of the creative process behind it. When you visit the gallery, you really get a feeling for the infinite creativity that young people possess.

What inspires the work at ArtStarts?

There was a moment at one of our ArtStarts on Saturdays workshops when a 5-year-old boy looked up from his painting and held up both his hands, totally coated with blue paint. With a HUGE smile on his face he yelled out, “Look! I made MAGIC BLUE!” For me, that moment encapsulated so much about what inspires us and what we hope to achieve: to make it possible for all young people to experience those incredible moments of wonder, discovery, self-confidence—and pure, uncontrollable joy.

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