Summer Series: Annis Karpenko at Visual Arts Mississauga


Visual Arts Mississauga

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.

Thanks Annis!

DSC_0031Annis 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.

Summer Series: PAONE’s Amber Ebert at Young People’s Theatre

YTP Drama School / Photo by Hanna Wolf

YTP Drama School / Photo by Hanna Wolf

Over the next few weeks, PAONE is looking at arts education in the blissful (and sometimes chaotic!) summer months.

In the first chapter of this series, we chat with PAONE board member, Amber Ebert, who is also the School & Community Programs Manager at Young People’s Theatre.

PAONE: What are you up to this summer at YPT?
AE: During the summer YPT shifts gears. Our production season finishes in May and our Summer Camp takes over the building for July and August. Every space in the theatre is filled with children playing and creating new theatrical work. As the School & Community Programs Manager, I am not directly involved with Summer Camp and generally, for me, summer is a quieter time where I focus on reporting and planning for next season. However, this summer we are already confirmed to facilitate 25 workshops at summer camps and organizations throughout the city such as at the Toronto Public Library, H.appi Camper and Macaulay Child Development Centre. So, it’s going to be busy! 

PAONE: Can you tell us about the programming and how it connects to arts education?
AE: Each of the community programs that we are delivering this summer support youth-led creation and facilitated play. The programs range from one hour to a series of sessions delivered over a full month. The participants range from parents and their toddlers in Regent Park to teenagers taking part in a special workshop at their local library to Syrian refugee children spending their first summer in Canada. In all of our programs we aim to introduce drama and theatre skills, encourage creativity, and build confidence in the participants.

PAONE: What is special about summer programming? Why do you feel it’s important?
AE: The partner organizations we are working with approached us to provide a special opportunity for their campers/participants as a fun change of pace from their regular programs or as a way to provide them access to a particular arts discipline. I believe that summer is a time to have fun and grow – it is my goal that our programs provide the opportunity for the participants to do just that. For most children, attending camp or participating in an activity in their local community is an opportunity for them meet new friends and interact in ways that differ from their normal ‘in-school’ life.  While sometimes scary, the freedom that comes from these new experiences has the potential to make a big impact on their social and emotional development.

PAONE: What will you be doing when you aren’t working this summer?
AE: Getting outside, playing in the sun, sleeping on the grass, and swimming as much as possible. I love riding my bike and have already been able to take some time off to go on a cycling and camping trip to the Adirondacks. I try to get outside as much as possible during the summer to take advantage of the long days by playing beach volleyball after work. I’m also lucky that I have access to a family cottage on Lake Erie and I try to get there on weekends whenever I can.

PAONE: What’s the best thing about summer in Toronto?
AE: The diversity of activities. I love that there is always something to happening from big art and street festivals to small community art shows. You can be as busy or as lazy as you choose.

Thanks, Amber!

Sept2010-620Amber Ebert is a PAONE board member and the School & Community Programs Manager at Young People’s Theatre where she facilitates educational programming for students and teachers. Amber has a background in professional theatre and music performance, management and education.


WATCH: Highlights from our Outreach Beyond Your Organization conference

On Thursday, April 28, 2016, PAONE hosted a conference with the Shaw Festival and Carousel Players that examined appropriate and respectful communication with new communities, and how to best approach outreach in communities that are not necessarily reflected within current audience, staff or board.

Watch highlights from the day, featuring guest speakers, Jessica Carmichael of Carousel Players and independent multi-disciplinary artist, Brian Solomon.

LISTEN: Full audio of PAONE’s Conference on Community Arts and Arts Education

feb 10 mini con

LISTEN to the full audio from PAONE’s Conference exploring Community Arts and Arts Education here!

At our February 10, 2016 Conference we asked: How do we define “community arts” and “arts education”? What are the differences? Where and how do they intersect? While the terms are often interchanged, each practice is characterized by unique approaches, methodologies, and goals. How can we examine these distinct practices, so that we can move forward authentically in our programming and strengthen the focus of our work?

PAONE was joined by guests Beth Helmers, Artistic Director at the Community Arts Guild an Offshoot of Jumblies Theatre, Marjorie Chan, Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre Company, Angie Aranda, Manager of Strategic Partnerships & Operations, and Parul Pandya, Manager of Community Engagement & Communications from the Neighbourhood Arts Network.

WATCH: Highlights from the conference here:

WATCH: The full conference here:

May 4, 2016: Research Club readings

Library of an Interaction Designer (Juhan Sonin) / 20100423.7D.0

Join us for the May edition of the PAONE Research Club!

Wednesday May 4, 2016
5:30-7:30 at Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue).
Participation is free
RSVP by Monday, May 2nd at noon.

For our final Research Club meeting of the season, we are going to canvas a variety of research, rather than focus on just one or two pieces. Faeron Pileggi, one of our PAONE Board Members, has provided a wide selection of research that looks at music.

When you RSVP to, please let us know which one of these pieces of research you would like to read and report on at our May 4th session.

  • Extending Reach With Technology: Seattle Opera’s Prolonged Experiment to Deepen Relationships and Reach New Audiences: Click here.
  • Cultivating the Next Generation of Art Lovers: How Boston Lyric Opera Sought to Create Greater Opportunities for Families to Attend Opera: Click here.
  • Taking Out the Guesswork: A Guide to Using Research to Build Audiences: Click here.
  • The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences: Click here.
  • The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education: Click here.
  • The Value of Presenting: A Study of Performing Arts Presentation in Canada (commissioned by CAPACOA): Click here.

Anne Wessels (PAONE Member, Director of Education, Tarragon Theatre)
Lois Adamson (PAONE Board Member, Member Schools & Education Manager, Young People’s Theatre)

We will be examining the research in the following categories:

  • Rationale
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Findings and Implications

RSVP by Monday, May 2nd at noon to