Artist looks for ‘an experience gained’ in downtown Minden
By Sue Tiffin
Sarah Shaw is an adventurer, an artist, and anticipating a fun, busy summer bringing art and art classes to Minden’s main street.
The Whitby-based painter who has been the artist on board expedition ships to the Arctic and has painted scenes of Guatemalan streets, is setting up shop on Bobcaygeon Road in the space adjacent to the former Village Chalet beginning in May, after the owner of the building thought it might suit a little art studio and recommended she fill the empty storefront on weekends until the end of August.
“So I figured, let’s go for it,” she said.
Shaw has been painting since she was a child, and operating an art studio for the past 17 years.
“My father’s side of the family is very artistic,” she said. “It’s a gene I was born with.”
When her children were small, she wanted to be able to stay at home and raise them, and said she had the space and the means to open a home-based arts studio.
“It flourished from there,” she said, of Shaw Studios, where she began teaching two classes a week and now teaches 15 classes a week.
The Minden store will serve as an art gallery, with original artwork for sale, as well as handmade wooden sculptures and knickknacks. She’s also opening the door to a wide variety of classes and workshops to engage the community. After doing research on the area, Shaw said she found there were few opportunities specifically offered for children to explore art. She’ll be offering one-and-a-half-hour classes in a variety of mediums for kids on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
“A lot of parents, if they don’t know art, they don’t try it,” she said. “Some parents don’t like the mess in the house. Here’s an opportunity to get messy. Art is a nice, mindful, creative activity, rather than a physical one. You have a lot of sports camps and whatnot, but when it comes to art and music there isn’t too much of that.”
Additionally, Shaw offers family workshops, in which an adult and child can come to the studio together for instruction on a piece of art.
“It’s a good bonding moment for the family,” she said. “It’s fun and carefree, and parents don’t have to sit on the sidelines.”
Adult paint nights will be offered with an option for participants to choose from a library of images to create, and Shaw is reaching out to local groups to offer fundraiser opportunities through the interactive evenings. She said she’s open to offering what the community tells her it wants.
The self-professed wanderer and camping aficionado plans to combine her love of camping with her love of teaching while in Minden, avoiding the drive back and forth to Whitby by pitching a tent in a campsite with her son, his friend and her dog.
“You’ve always got to try something new, be brave, take some bold steps,” she said, noting the importance of teaching children to be brave and “go for things,” while appreciating “an experience gained.”
Art classes for kids and youth aged six to 16 at Shaw Studios in Minden will include Charcoals on July 7 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; Oil Pastels on June 8 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and July 21 from 1 to 2:30 p.m.; Watercolours on Aug. 8 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and Acrylics on May 25 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and Aug. 15 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Classes range in price from $8 to $15.
Family workshops are geared toward pairings of one adult with one child, and cost $30 (additional children can opt in for $12 each). Participants are guided step-by-step through an acrylic painting, together. Workshops take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on June 9, July 28 and Aug. 18.
Adult paint nights, in which students aged 18 and older, of all levels of experience, can paint a 16 x 20-inch canvas in acrylics, are available at $40 per person. Workshops run from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and Shaw said small classes ensure she can work one-on-one with participants. Paint Nights will be held May 24, June 10, June 27, July 22 and Aug. 16. Each night offers a different painting option, and participants receive a discount if they sign up for more than one night.