NORTH ISLAND BUILDING BLOCKS PHOTO Artist Sylvie Ringer smiles as participants hold up their completed paintings.

Art Studio nights provides free space to make art

“It’s all ages and its open to everybody.”

Art Studio nights at North Island Building Blocks (NIBB) have been a success since they first started last April.

The idea is simple: everyone including advanced artists, beginners, seniors, or families can drop by for step-by-step instructions with a resident artist to create art together in a social setting.

Materials are even free, so participants just have to come with a creative spirit.

“I wanted to do something in the community,” said Sylvie Ringer, the artist instructor contracted through North Island College, that helped start the program at NIBB after she moved to the North Island from Germany. “You know, free art – it’s great!” she added.

NIBB has offered the Art Studio nights weekly, which take place in Port Hardy Wednesdays from 4:30 – 6:30 pm, and Coordinator of North Island Building Blocks Stephanie Nelson said it’s been a huge hit.

“I’m really excited to have this additional program because it fits really nicely into a holistic approach,” said Nelson, adding “We have a lot of health and wellness programs here so this was definitely a key that was missing and through Art Studio we are getting a beautifully diverse group in which is great.”

Nelson said they’ve had participants from all over the Mount Waddington region, including Sointula, Port Alice, Port McNeill, and Alert Bay.

“It’s all ages and its open to everybody,” said Nelson, adding “We have had elders participate, there’s a couple of eight-year-olds that come every time, and we have a mum that has two young ones and it works for her.”

She said the highest number of participants they’ve had for a single night is 37.They now have a limit of 15 participants and advertise the Art Studio nights beforehand on their Facebook page where they ask participants to sign up by commenting on the post.

“There are some people that come in and say they can’t even draw a stick man and then they are drawing and painting these masterpieces,” said Nelson.

Ringer will actually be leaving the North Island for four months, as her partner will be completing a contract in Europe.

Nelson, however, hopes this won’t put the program on hiatus, as she has reached out to another artist who may be able to fill the gap.

“It’s been a really great program,” said Nelson, adding “It’s definitely therapeutic and it’s a nice social activity as well and it provides an activity for the North Island that focuses again on health and wellness.”

North Island Building Blocks Program assists children, youth, and families to identify, express, prioritize and achieve their personal goals through outreach, support, advocacy, and some group facilitation activities.

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