Over the next few weeks, PAONE is looking at arts education in the blissful (and sometimes chaotic!) summer months.
In the second chapter of this series, we chat with PAONE member, Annis Karpenko, Executive Director of Visual Arts Mississauga.
PAONE: What are you up to this summer?
AK: I love this time of year and I am so fortunate to come to this beautiful garden and art centre to work each day.
PAONE: Can you tell us about your summer work and how it connects to arts education?
AK: Summer days at Visual Arts Mississauga are filled with creative kids enjoying our popular Arts Camp! Our art instructors and volunteers work with kids ages 6-13 in six studios making magical creations in all sorts of mediums. Summer evenings find adults and teens enjoying courses and workshops in watercolour, acrylic, oil and drawing. And in the office, the VAM team is getting our fall program of visual arts courses and workshops ready to launch.
PAONE: What is special about summer programming? Why do you feel it’s important?
AK: Summer is a wonderful time for creativity. The days are longer and I think everyone feels more relaxed and ready to learn. VAM is set in a beautiful natural oasis and to have that combined with visual art making is very special. I love seeing young children leave at the end of a day with their new creations – they are smiling, their parents are smiling. It’s great.
PAONE: What will you be doing when you aren’t working this summer?
AK: I have a pile of books waiting to be read, a dozen art projects waiting for me in my studio and I will be spending some time back in my heart’s home, the Eastern Townships of Quebec.
PAONE What’s the best thing about summer where you live?
AK: A lot of people are away so I feel the city is a little less crowded and congested and there is so much to do – galleries, museums, music, theatre. It’s wonderful. The weather is pretty darn great and I love the festivals in Port Credit’s Memorial Park and I love just wandering by the lake neighbourhoods from the Beaches in the east to Bronte in the west.
Annis Karpenko has an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College and a MEd in holistic education from OISE/University of Toronto. She began her administrative journey as a stage manager and brings with her an eclectic mix of experience gleaned from her time as General Manager for the Bishop’s University Students’ Representative Council and Executive Director of Townshippers’ Foundation in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and Coordinator for the York University Centre for Feminist Research.