There will be more free art programs coming to Thunder Bay soon, especially in communities such as Simpson-Ogden, downtown Fort William, and Blucher Picton Windsor.

The Community Arts and Heritage Education Project is hiring a full-time paid intern to expand its Art to the Streets program, which provides free art classes to children and youth who might not otherwise be able to access such programs – due to lack of money or lack of transit access.

CAHEP executive and artistic director Alana Forslund said she's excited to give back to the community because art made a big difference in her own life.

"I was a quieter kid. I had an art teacher in high school who opened up her room to me when I didn't really have a lot of friends to hang out with. And I could just hang out there and make art and she would nurture skills in me. And that really changed me I think," Forslund said. 

New hire to start next month

This past year, CAHEP offered classes in theatre, mask-making, mural painting and digital music-making, among other topics, Forslund said. The group also works with local Indigenous artists.  

Forslund said community members told her they wanted more, so she applied for – and received – funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to expand.

Ideally, the new position will lead to an artist in residence program that will see artists apply to work with specific communities for a period of perhaps a month, Forslund said.

The new intern will also help facilitate art projects initiated by community-members – something there is a growing demand for, she added. 

Forslund said she hopes to have the new hire on board next month.