September 18, 2023RCA Summer of Arts Recap

As summer draws to a close, the RCA is gearing up for new fun and exciting performances, workshops, and community programs this fall. However, we can’t help but reminisce about the amazing time we had at RCA’s Summer of Arts! Through the generous support from the Sedin Family Foundation, we were able to bring free arts programing to youth, teens, and families throughout the Okanagan. From textile art to street dance, there was a workshop for everyone.  

"We are incredibly grateful to be able to provide these new free youth and family programs to our community," says Colleen Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Rotary Centre for the Arts. "As a non-profit performing arts organization, we firmly believe in the power of arts education and its ability to transform lives. By offering these accessible and cost-free programs, we are removing barriers and ensuring that all young individuals, regardless of their socio-economic background, have the opportunity to explore their creativity, develop new skills, and experience the joy of artistic expression”. 

Summer of Arts quickly became a huge success, drawing in over 1,000 participants by the end of the program. It is clear to us that there is a need for programming like Summer of Arts in our community.  We are thrilled to have been able to provide the space necessary to help youth unleash their creativity, discover new forms of art, and make new friends along the way.  

Our Textile Arts workshop, taught by Jenn Mills and Kaylyn Hardstaff, introduced the art of sewing, tailoring garments, knitting, embroidery, and more. We busted some moves with Brett Diplock and Simonne Kraigher in our Street Dance workshops, teaching the fundamentals of hip-hop, funk, and freestyle street dance. Our Mixed Visual Arts workshops were some of our most popular, showcasing tons of exciting artistic mediums; drawing, painting, suminagashi, collage, you name it! Instructors Angie Marchinkow, Kaylyn, Jesse Roode, and Candace Thayer-Coe helped each student have a chance to express themselves. Check out our new workshop for teens, Abstract Adventurism with Angie Marchinkow, starting September 27. 

Our most unique workshop combined DJing and Article Customization,  allowing students to switch between mastering DJ equipment operation and giving a fresh look to personal items they brought from home. Instructors Matt Reed and Kaylyn helped us customize tunes and t-shirts! In our Giant Puppet Workshops, participants helped create a collection of puppets inspired by the living beings of Brandt's Creek. Our Family Visual Arts days, led by Angie, Jesse, and Kaylyn, gathered people of all ages every Saturday for enjoyable art activities suitable for the entire family, complete with a complimentary lunch. 

If those weren’t enough, we had multiple 3-day intensive workshops for youth who wanted a more compact learning experience. Our Visual Art Intensive with Angie, Jesse, and Kaylyn had participants build skills in different painting and drawing techniques to prepare for an exhibition in Kelowna’s Interior Health Building at the end of the course. We got to clown around and get active in our Circus Arts Intensive with Aimee Arsenault and Matt Kroeker, learning the unique skills of juggling, acrobatics, hula hoop, and the art of flow. And our Anime Art Intensive, another incredibly popular workshop, was perfect for all anime and cartoon lovers. Each student learnt the fundamentals of anime art with Jesse and created their own anime and/or cartooning style.

The ongoing threat of wildfires throughout Kelowna interrupted many summer plans this August. The RCA made the decision to keep running Summer of Arts through the end of August, indoors and away from the smoke. We believe that offering a space for youth, teens, and families to engage in creative activities provided a sense of normalcy and respite during these challenging times.  

After each program was complete, and the smoke in the air subsided, we celebrated with our community by offering a free BBQ! On Labour Day, September 4th, we brought out the burgers and hot dogs (veggie options, of course), arts and crafts, and our giant puppets for an end of summer party we’ll never forget. We enjoyed the tunes of the French Quarters Brass Band, gave out amazing raffle prizes, and marched around the RCA’s front lawn with a giant puppet parade. We loved seeing our Summer of Arts, Arts Blast, and Jazz Camp families come together for one final hoorah after this 2023 summer season.  

We sat down with RCA’s Youth Program Coordinator and Summer of Arts instructor, Kaylyn Hardstaff, to hear about her experience organizing and leading some of these programs. 

“Some of my favourite things this summer were teaching kids, youth and adults new, unfamiliar techniques and skills that they can practice further in their own time,” says Kaylyn. “I loved seeing parents and grandparents in the family visual art program enjoying themselves as much as the kids, and seeing them gain new skills that they can use at home when doing art with their families and friends. I also really enjoyed being shown photos of where participants hung up their art at home and especially being asked to take photos of families making art together at the family visual art drop-in.” 

“I think it is great for kids and adults to know that there are many different ways of creating art and with many different techniques to learn. Everyone is guaranteed to find something that they really enjoy and want to explore and build on after the class is over.” 

Take a look at what our community had to say about RCA Summer of Arts: 

“Thank you to the sponsors for putting this on. This is amazing and would provide our adopted daughter with a great chance to do art programs that are otherwise too expensive for us.” 

“This was amazing! Love the involvement and great instruction. Thank you for sharing with us!” 

“I found this summer program great! There are few to no programs available to teens, especially during the summer, so very much appreciated - We also attended as a family to the end of the summer BBQ on Monday. Thank you for organizing it!” 

“Street Dance was awesome - the teachers were great, and it was so much fun. Thank you for offering!” 

“I think the Summer of Arts was a great, free opportunity for kids to express themselves, which can help greatly with stress and mental health.” 

Thank you to everyone who helped make these programs possible. The RCA has many more youth and adult workshops coming up this year, so don’t miss out!  

This fall, we’re offering an extended version of our popular After School Anime class taught by local Anime-style artist Brock Gratz, Anime Art Extended, running Thursdays, September 21 to November 9. This course is nearly sold out, so register now! 

Our brand-new youth Print Making Workshop kicks off November 8! In this 5-week program, you’ll be exploring relief printing using Lino-cutting. Participants will learn how to start from a drawing, transferring the drawing onto a linoleum block, how to use gouges to carve the surface and how to print without a printing press onto paper, fabric and clothing. Our Youth Programs Coordinator, Kaylyn Hardstaff, is ready to lead this new and exciting workshop.

On November 16, we’re going to get spooky in our new Horror Illustration workshop for teens. With Brock Gratz, students in this 5-session series will explores some of the fundamentals of horror style illustration like in classic horror movie posters, comics, and art pieces. 

Youth Workshops

Adult Workshops

Summer of Arts BBQ photographs by Ari Pielecki. @aspielecki_photo on Instagram.

RCA Summer of Arts Recap