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Since its founding in 2005, Artbarn School has been offering creative art experiences to adults and children in Midtown Toronto. Executive Director, Linda McMaster, has devoted many years to nurturing this not-for-profit venture. Despite the ongoing construction in front of the school and the pandemic, people are still supporting the School and continue to attend even virtually.

Linda’s main passion is art education for children. She spent 6 years teaching JK to Gr.12 visual art at Fieldstone School in Toronto. In 2018 Artbarn was approached by the principal at John Fisher P.S. to plan a mural for the condo construction fence next to the school. Linda designed the project and organized a team of artists including Jacquelyn Sloane Siklos, to work directly with the 430 students to paint large plywood dots that were then attached to the fence. The dots incorporated colourful geometric designs and brought a playfulness to the construction site. The project was funded by the condo corporation.

The following year in 2019 Eglinton JPS also needed a mural for the exterior of the school where the Crosstown construction was underway. This time Linda felt that the 606 students at the school should have the opportunity to engage in the design of the project. Working closely with teachers and staff, Linda created tangram worksheets and teacher resources to facilitate this large project and challenge the students. By providing boxes of markers with a large number of colours to each class the children were inspired to came up with many wonderful designs. The student designs were displayed in the atrium of the school where a painting studio was set up to give them the chance to actually help the Marina Nazarova and the other artists paint the plywood tangram pieces and also the white plywood clouds that supported them. This project was funded by Crosslinx/Metrolinx and has yet to be installed on the school.

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