Freehand School of Art opened in 2010 under mother-daughter team Vivian East and Julia Ramdeholl. As artists and registered teachers with years of experience, we had seen first hand the lack of quality arts education in schools. We wanted to provide the community – both children and adults – with a focused and informed approach to visual art instruction in a space that nurtures creativity. From that goal, Freehand was born.
What started out as a two-woman operation in a small storefront studio has flourished. Freehand now boasts four large studios, plus a lunchroom and library, which cater to hundreds of students in more than forty weekly classes, camps and workshops taught by a team of eleven artists and educators. We are proud to serve the community and grateful for the support that has made Freehand what it is today.
Why choose Freehand?
Our mission is to engage students with the world around them using eye, mind and hand. We teach fundamental art skills that allow students to discover the expressive possibilities of new materials and techniques. Each class focuses on a new skill, technique or theory, such as drawing/painting techniques, perspective drawing or colour theory. Students are encouraged to make every project their own, and no two students will ever emerge with identical artwork!
Our instructors all hold degrees in fine arts and/or education and are practising artists. They bring a wealth of experience from working in the arts community, which they use to design engaging art projects that push students’ technical ability and creativity.
Why is Visual Arts Education Important?
Visual arts education in schools, museums and communities is imperative for students of all ages. A quality art education positively impacts our lives in so many ways from brain development and cognition to creativity and socio-cultural awareness.
Below is a list from Elliot Eisner's 2002 publication The Arts and the Creation of Mind from Yale University Press:
1) The arts teach us children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.
2) The arts reach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
3) The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
4) The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
5) The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
6) The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.
7) The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
8) The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.
9) The arts enable us to have experience we can have through no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
10) The arts position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.