Let’s see. Where does the story begin? Well, I was a resident of Unionville for many years and remember riding my bike up to Main Street Unionville from my parents’ place. As an adult, I enjoyed the countless walks along Toogood Pond and all that the area had to offer back then when it was a well-kept secret.
Fast forward quite a number of years later. I’m a mom living just shy of the Unionville boundaries and no longer a Markham resident. The area is still like home to me and it’s the first place I thought of when I wanted to expose my child, then about 4 years old, to the world of art in a truly immersive art-infused setting. It started with the classes that were available during Christmas and March break. My daughter was an artistic child who loved colours, drawing and creating at a very young age. Once Isabella sampled a few of these classes, I enrolled her in a summer camp at McKay house when she was probably 5 years old. There she was greeted daily by energetic instructors who encouraged the kids to explore, imagine and create various works of art using different mediums. I think Isabella was hooked….so was I!
Over the years, Isabella has participated in several art camps and learned how art is connected to everything from the environment, culture, engineering beyond. Each sharing a unique relationship with art. Isabella has gained not only a continued love for art and its various forms, but a foundation that continues to play an active role in her 10 year old life today. Isabella is often seen with a sketchbook in hand when we are heading out on a day trip or even on a short car ride to the store. Sometimes, she uses items found indoors or outdoors to create characters, objects and the like as a way to pass her time. As well, she is enjoys creating cards, and portraits for family and friends to brighten their day and add to their collection.
Lastly, and equally as important, is the relationship fostered by the Varley and its exceptional staff with my child. Isabella feels at ease when she walks in on the first day of camp, not knowing anyone, tells the program coordinators and instructors her name and they give her a big smile and say, “I remember you. I taught you before. So good to see you!” The sense of community that the Varley provides by way of being a hub for art and culture for many who pass through the doors is invaluable to both the young children who attend classes and the adults who reap the benefits.
Looking forward to many more years of camps and classes where Isabella continues to develop her appreciation for art across the spectrum and grow as an artist in whatever blossoming form that takes.