Kitchener-based Artshine expanding across Ontario

Programs going into new markets, including Ottawa, Hamilton, Brantford

COMMUNITY Apr 24, 2019 Kitchener Post

Artshine and Arts4All are pleased to announce the most recent expansion of their programs to new markets, including Ottawa, Hamilton, Brantford and more.

Artshine, along with sister nonprofit Arts4All, form an innovative mobile art social enterprise. Together, Artshine and Arts4All are devoted to creating a community where participation in the arts is available to people of all levels of income, ability or life circumstances. By expanding into new markets, the company hopes to empower people and contribute to creating a more beautiful world — enhancing the quality of life of at-risk and underprivileged individuals by improving their education, confidence and self-expression through art.

Founded in 2015 by Paul Field in Kitchener, Ont., Artshine has expanded into several regions such as Guelph, GTA, Barrie, among others. This past year, the company expanded their reach outside of Ontario with the introduction of their first Montreal programs. And they are continuing to broaden their reach by entering new cities like Ottawa and Hamilton.

“We are thrilled to bring Artshine to new places and impact the lives of more people. I firmly believe that the act of creating art can provide individuals with a healthy outlet to express their emotions, build self-confidence, and cope with the adversities that life may throw their way,” said Paul Field, founder of Artshine and Arts4All.

In his previous career as a social worker, Paul was offering similar programming, but he became frustrated with cuts to funding. His experience in youth engagement, social work and arts education inspired him to create this innovative self-funding, social-enterprise model.

Artshine’s programming — taught by instructors who are artists themselves — offers enriching and educational mobile art classes that help participants build knowledge, skills and confidence. The company’s original programming shadows the elementary school curriculum by teaching students about the creative process, critical analysis and the principles and elements of design. Students use their imagination, practice a variety of techniques and experiment with a variety of mediums. As they practice self-expression and reflection, students work through emotions, form opinions and analyze work as they learn about Canadian art, Indigenous art and art from around the world.

While they do offer other programs such as corporate team building, birthday parties and workshops, most of Artshine’s programming takes place during lunch breaks or after school, right on school property, so parents don’t need to transport their children to an offsite extracurricular activity.

With the social enterprise model, profits from Artshine’s paid programming are put back into the community through the nonprofit Arts4All. In a class of 20 students, two children are fully sponsored with an Artshine Scholarship. Arts4All also runs programs for people living with disabilities in community organizations, senior communities, prisons and centres for at-risk youth. The organization also flexes their prices, offering subsidized rates in communities that can’t afford to pay full price.

“We receive a lot of feedback from school principals saying that our programming allows students to express their creativity in a setting that offers a balance of both inquiry learning and guided instruction,” said Elana Chand, general manager of Artshine. “At the same time, we hear from parents who notice a positive change in their child’s attitude, confidence, and creativity. But the most rewarding feedback we receive is from students who express their own gratitude in having arts made accessible to them and hearing their pride when they’ve completed a project that is better than what they thought they could make.

"This is the most rewarding part about working at Artshine: knowing that we are inspiring individuals, helping them build their own self-confidence, and helping them shine.”

If you would like to speak with a member of Artshine’s staff or request additional information, please contact