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MacLaren Art Centre - VanGO

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Now is the time to book VanGo for your students!

The MacLaren Art Centre is the regional public art gallery serving Simcoe County and the home of VanGo. Developed to enhance the Ontario Visual Arts Curriculum, this award-winning artist-in-the-schools programme brings professional artists into the school classroom to deliver visual art experiences that are accessible, educational and appealing.

About VanGo

The MacLaren’s signature education programme brings practicing regional artists into Simcoe County classrooms who work with over 8,500 students each year on creative art projects. VanGo is well-known for original arts-based programming for students from K  to Grade 8.

See the complete program including fees PDF brochure  here.



MacLaren VanGo programmes offer unique opportunities for students to meet and work with professional visual artists in the classroom and at the Gallery.  VanGo meets the requirements of the Ontario Arts Curriculum and offers links to the Language, Science and Social Studies Curriculum.



Fantastic Forests – Inspired by Canadian artist Emily Carr NEW!
Students will be engaged in creating an artwork representing the Canadian rural landscape. Using paint and collage,
they build visual images by cutting, tearing and layering shapes. In this art activity, students develop fine motor skills and creative thinking. The focus is on visual texture and space through the use of organic and geometric shapes with ties to the Geography curriculum.

Sunshine and Waterlilies – Inspired by Claude Monet   NEW!
In this painting programme, students will be inspired by the Impressionist style of Claude Monet. Using acrylic paint and collage on an 11 x 14-inch canvas board, they will create a vibrant water scene through primary and tint colour mixing.  The concepts of colour theory, space and texture are explored with emphasis on gestural painting techniques.

Mixed Beasts
Students have fun sculpting with clay creating amazing creatures and illustrating their natural environments with artist watercolour markers. They explore basic clay techniques and tools, developing fine motor skills and creative thinking.
The focus is on the use of geometric solids and form as an element of art with imaginative reference to Geography and Science curriculum.

Working with a variety of printmaking techniques, students in this Softoleum printing programme develop a basic understanding of city architecture and visual elements. Shape, line and texture are created using stamps, rollers and stencils. The story is all about building a modern urban community.

Creating Colour – Inspired by Hans Hoffman
This watercolour programme engages students in the exploration of primary and secondary colours, while delighting them with interactive components. Three artworks are created by overlapping transparent colour, caran d’ache drawing and watercolour painting techniques. Students learn to recognize warm and cool colours in contemporary and historical art through a variety of techniques and media, discovering how colour can be used to express emotion.

In the Making
In this programme, VanGo artists present the early importance of art as a form of storytelling and share their own personal art and relationship to the community. Students create two artworks, a two-dimensional drawing using clay slip and a three-dimensional form by building an expressive clay vessel and printing pattern on its surface.

Rhythm ’n Hues
In this painting programme, students use primary colours and various painting tools to create art in response to music. The concepts of abstraction, colour theory and texture are explored to express mood. Beginning with acrylic paint, students create up to three expressive works of art on canvas board and incorporate gestural line with chalk pastels. This programme encourages the use of the principles of design and personal feelings to create a series of unique painting compositions.
The Shape of Colour
Students will have fun with abstraction in this printmaking programme. Creating two unique prints utilizing water-soluble crayons and found texture, they explore colour theory, shape, pattern and monotype printing with an emphasis on the visual elements and printmaking as an art form.

Starry Night – Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh
Students will be spellbound when they try a centuries-old printing technique: paper marbling. The principles of design are discovered as students create two masterpieces using mixed media. Starry Night reinforces an understanding of warm and cool colours, silhouette and visual representation of depth. The focus is on expressive colour, rhythmic line and the correct use of scissors.



Vibrant Vistas – Inspired by Canadian artist Doris McCarthy NEW!
In this painting programme, students will be inspired by the abstract art of Canadian artist Doris McCarthy. Using cut adhesive templates, students will create a vibrant rural landscape with acrylic paint on an 11 x 14 canvas board. The focus is on the principles of design and analogous colour with ties to the Geography curriculum.

Art in Motion NEW!
Learn how to create art that moves! In this innovative animation programme, students create a mini zoetrope illustrating their creative understanding of Earth and Space Systems. The focus is designing sequential drawings for animation with content drawn from the Science curriculum.

Arctic Animals – Inspired by Inuit Folklore
Taking inspiration from Inuit mythical animals and folklore, students will sculpt imaginative creatures with natural clay. This fascinating activity encourages creative thinking, develops fine motor skills and challenges the student to move from two-dimensional drawing to three-dimensional form. The focus is on the use of geometric solids and form as an element of art.

Painted Portraits – Inspired by Henri Matisse
Express yourself! In this mixed-media programme, students create a vibrant self-portrait using artist-quality paper and incorporating collage, drawing and paint. Inspired by the modern art style of Matisse, they will apply their understanding of facial proportions, the principles of design and expressive use of tertiary colour. Teachers: Consider booking this programme for a unique class portrait!

Scale It Up!
Combining small and large canvas boards and acrylics, students create an eye-popping abstract artwork. The programme begins with an exploration of the principles of design on small canvases and then incorporates these into a larger painting. Colour theory, shapes, pattern and texture are explored to create a visually unified artwork. The focus is on painting techniques and the style of abstraction.

Water World
In this printmaking programme, students create a large collograph on coloured paper illustrating their creative understanding of underwater Life Systems and Bio-Diversity. Using cut paper, rollers and ink, students create physical characteristics of plants, animals and their environment represented as organic and geometric shapes. The focus is on printmaking and the principles of design with content drawn from the Science curriculum.

Nature in Print
Exploring the infinite variety of shapes and patterns found in nature, students create two prints utilizing water soluble crayons and found texture. They will discover monotype printing and use positive shapes, negative space and texture to create unique and engaging prints. The focus is on the application of design principles and the art of printmaking.

Towering Totems – Inspired by North West Coast Aboriginal Art
This programme explores visual art from Canadian Aboriginal artists of the North West Coast. Students will learn about Haida design elements and their enduring history and function. Each will draw and paint their own totem and work collaboratively to create a totem pole-like sculpture. The focus is on drawing, symmetry, form and symbol, with content drawn from the Social Studies curriculum.




Art City – Inspired by Canadian artist David Craven NEW!
In this mixed-media acrylic painting programme, students create an abstract artwork on an 11 x 14 inch
canvas board. Collage and text are added to the mix, reflecting the student’s creative take on technology,
mass-media and urban life. The focus is on painting techniques, colour value/contrast and the application of
the principles of design.

Tag Me
In this workshop, each student creates a silkscreen print logo. Students will learn how to print two transparent
colour layers and a multiple edition. Emphasis is on colour theory, the use of silkscreen printing as graphic design
and the creation of a personal signature. With advance notice, VanGo artists can provide fabric inks for printing on
t-shirts or canvas bags as supplied by the teacher and/or students.

Hands Up!
Students will explore the sculptural techniques of mould-making and casting based on proportion and anatomy.
Focusing on the gestural movements of sign language, each student will create a series of blind contour drawings
and produce a three-dimensional cast of their own hand using flex-wax and plaster that can be painted and
displayed in a variety of ways. Students will gain “hands-on” experience in this traditional sculptural method.

In this programme, students create a series of unique prints based on a creative representation of microorganisms
in an ecosystem. Students design an image and carve it into soft linoleum. The impressions are inked
and pressed to create a two-colour reduction print. The focus is on visual elements, principles of design, cooperative
effort and printmaking as an art form with content drawn from the Science Curriculum.

Painted Pathways – Inspired by Canadian artist Guy Monpetit
In this acrylic painting programme, students experiment with gesture and create two abstract-expressionist
artworks beginning with an achromatic exploration of mark-making. Moving on to painting in colour, they explore
sweeping gestures to surprising results. The focus is on painting techniques, the principles of design and the style
of Abstract-Expressionism.

Colour My World
Based on references to satellite imagery of the earth, students explore abstraction by creating a large artwork on
watercolour paper using artist-quality watercolour paints, brushes, liquid frisket (masking fluid) and wax resist.
Using traditional watercolour techniques, their focus is on creating vibrant paintings with an emphasis on colour
theory, positive form and negative space, texture and transparency.

Masks and Meaning –  Inspired by Aboriginal Tribal Masks
This programme explores the ceremonial masks created by Aboriginal artists of the West Coast. Students
discover the function and history of the mask while creating a watercolor painting and a clay mask masterpiece.
The focus is on drawing, symmetry, form and symbol, with content drawn from the Social Studies Curriculum.

Carnival Masks – Full Day
Students will create theatrical masks inspired by the celebrations of Carnival around the world or create
awesome masks for their own school drama production! The colourful paper mask is formed on a wire
armature and can be embellished with a wide selection of materials. The focus is on colour transparency,
form and construction.

Self Express – Inspired by Pop Art – Full Day
This popular painting project makes a great addition to graduation celebrations. Students create large-scale
acrylic paintings on canvas, Pop Art style, expressing their personal interests and accomplishments, making
these perfect souvenirs from high school. The focus is on combining the visual elements, principles of design and
painting techniques.


How to Book

MacLaren VanGo can be booked by telephone or email Monday
through Friday throughout the academic year.

Please call or email
the MacLaren Education Assistant at 705-720-1044 ext. 232
or The MacLaren Art Centre requires
that the VanGo artists work with one class at a time in a regular
classroom setting. Consider booking VanGo programmes in
multiples of two, making it possible for the visiting artists to
remain at the school for a full day.  ArtsENGAGE






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