Take a virtual art class with the AGO

Our friends at the Art Gallery of Ontario are running some excellent free school programs
AGO virtual art class This art by Indigenous painter Daphne Odjig is the subject of an upcoming online art class aimed at Grades 4 to 8. Mother and Child - Playtime, 1977. (© Estate of Daphne Odjig, Courtesy of AGO)

Across some parts of the country, schools have temporarily shut down as governments try to get control over the COVID-19 pandemic. For some of you, virtual school from home is something you've been doing since September. Or even longer. Others have only really been at it since the start of 2021.

But whatever your exact situation is, we're pretty sure that everyone can agree on one thing. When it comes to working virtually, it's always nice to have a change of pace. An unexpected lesson that makes you perk up and pay attention. Well, we have just the thing!

Free virtual art class, courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)!

Going strong since autumn

Since October 2020, the AGO has been offering their Virtual School Programs to students all across Ontario and beyond. (They've even had students from as far off as Sao Paolo, Brazil check in!) In other words, though the classes are all set to the Eastern Time Zone (think Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, Kitchener, Sudbury, and Thunder Bay), anyone can take them.

The half-hour classes are designed for three different grade levels: JK to Grade 3; Grade 4 to Grade 8, and Grade 9 to 12. A new session happens everyday—for a full schedule, go here. There's one happening all the time, including today!

Mother and Child–Playtime session

Each session examines art that is related to a different topic or cultural background, such as the environment, storytelling, senses, African diaspora, and Indigenous Peoples. To get you excited, we'd like to feature an upcoming session on Thursday, January 21.

On this day, Art Educator Mahlikah Aweri is going to talk about a piece of art by Indigenous artist Daphne Odjig. The subject is her painting Mother and Child–Playtime. That's it at the top of the post!

According to the AGO, Odjig is "known as the grandmother of Canadian Indigenous art" and she was born on Manitoulin Island's Wikwemikong reserve. She first learned about being an artist from her grandfather, Jonas Odjig.

If you attend this session, you'll get a chance to discuss the work with an expert, learn about its history, and join in a mini-art making activity: Drawing yourself and your favourite person playing together!

What a cool idea, right? If you'd like to see more of what a virtual art class is like, watch the video below of a past AGO session on the senses that features work by Canadian painter Emily Carr.

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