“Our goal is to create an environment where everyone feels free to create and have fun! says Emmeline Keeling, program director and art teacher at the Wheatland Society of Arts.

This non-profit organization strives to provide visual arts opportunities for all ages, abilities, and income demographics, while emphasizing the social and mental well-being benefits of creating with others who share an interest. Beyond adult classes, the institution places a strong emphasis on low-cost programs for seniors, youth, special needs, and family groups. These include classes, workshops, an instructor studio, an open studio, and even occasional out-of-studio events.

As a non-profit organization, the Wheatland Society of Arts is always looking for volunteers to join its team.

“Our paid instructors are extremely grateful to the volunteers,” says Keeling.

Janet Kurka is a Board Member, Chair of Publicity, and Professor of Art at WSA. She is also adamant that the Society would not function without the help of its volunteers. Keeling and Kurka are quick to point out that volunteers do more than help with classes. They clean, shop, help organize events and much more.

“You can’t run around giving blue paint to 20 people and teaching at the same time!” Sometimes we have quite large classes – the largest I’ve seen recently has 24 people. We will never refuse anyone who wants to volunteer!

In addition, the Society is constantly looking for members and teachers.

“We are always looking for teachers,” adds Kurka. “Whether it’s a local artist, a professional artist or just an interested artist who knows how to teach. We are also always on the lookout for different artistic mediums — we are constantly in need of ideas.

As for membership, the cost is $20/year for adults, and children and youth are free. Memberships offer the benefit of discounted courses, as well as the ability to vote on organizational matters.

The Wheatland Society of Arts list includes classes for preschoolers, school-aged children, tweens, teens, and adults.

“I’m most excited about our pottery classes!” shares Keeling. “We just started in September and we have classes for all ages from January to March.”

Kurka connects the joy of the new Hand Clay Pottery class with the generosity of the community.

“The only reason we are able to do this is because the oven was donated,” she says. “We are so lucky, as Emmeline said, that this is happening. So now we have two pottery experts, and some of our other instructors are also learning to teach. »

Other classes to note include the following:

Young-at-heart art: Monday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Here, the elderly are invited to come and do crafts and company.

“Some of them live in small places where they can’t disperse to work on a project,” Kurka admits. “So we opened the studio to seniors. Although we have never turned down a non-senior!”

Adaptive Art: Mondays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Fridays from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“This program allows people with intellectual and physical disabilities to explore their creative side, while socializing!” Emmeline continues, “This artistic opportunity can boost self-esteem and encourage a sense of personal accomplishment.”

This program is made possible through the generosity of the Town of Strathmore, the EPCOR Heart And Soul Fund and the staff of West Mountain School – Pay It Forward.

Open workshop: Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Janet Kurka is truly passionate about art for everyone and loves sharing about this particular class.

“Any artist, anyone, can come with their own supplies, their own projects, and just work with a group of people who are all working on their own stuff. Plus, those of us running this time are also artists, teachers too, and so we just help each other.

Youth programming:

  • Preschool Art: Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (3 to 5 years old)
  • Art at home: Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (5 to 9 years old)
  • Art after school: Mondays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. (6 to 9 years old)
  • Preteen Art: Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. (9 to 12 years old)
  • Teen Art: variable dates and times (13-17 years old)

“We have a lot of youth programs every week,” says Keeling. “It’s $20 a month and you have four classes. We try to keep the prices as low as possible for our programming courses for young people. It’s through our grants that we get specifically from the town of Strathmore.

Anyone interested in taking a course or just browsing through their options is encouraged to pick up a brochure, which is updated and reprinted three times a year. Brochures are available at the studio, the radio station, The Vault and the library.

The Wheatland Society of Arts can be contacted by Facebook, instagramand their website at www.wheatlandarts.ca.

Content sponsored by the Wheatland Society of Arts.