ArtHouse predicts a hot summer as it begins its 8th Year!

Camp ArtHouse Theatre Performance Program
ArtHouse predicts a hot summer as it begins its 8th Year!
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Don Pangman

Don Pangman

Don Pangman is the long time resident of Oakville, who has dedicated himself to supporting various causes in the town. His current passion is ArtHouse where he is both the Founder and Executive Director. Recently, Don created the ArtHouse Festival Series where he is the Artistic Director.

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ArtHouse can boast with pride that it has delivered a total of 208 cost-free multi-disciplined arts programs over the past seven years to 3,594 young people 7-12 years of age, implementing them in approximately 30 accessible locations throughout Oakville and Burlington, and more recently in Milton.

It’s been a remarkable ride. The research on the importance of arts in the lives of all humans dates back to 2008, when the idea for free music programs for kids where a cost was out-of- reach for families became the trigger point for the founding of the organization in 2009.

Today ArtHouse is an employer, with access to over 30 professional instructors whose talents range from Arts Therapy, to Fashion Design to Music Programs, Theatre Performance and even a focus on healthy eating with Cooking and Garden Education Programs.

“Each of our Program Leaders brings their innate and carefully trained arts skill, as well as their ability to bring out the best in each child,” comments ArtHouse Program Director Gemma Hagerman. “It is beautiful to watch the interaction between our young people and their instructor, and there’s no question that both the participants and our leaders are taking away a pretty special experience from our programs.”

Just a slim margin of ArtHouse “graduates” will seek a career in the field of the arts, but each student that has been touched by ArtHouse will take a “tool” of learning away that will be vitally important in this exciting 21st Century of Creativity.

Research will tell you that participation in the arts contributes to skills that include creative and critical thinking, problem solving, communication, self-expression and confidence. To deny our children with these tools could well reduce their probability of success in their years ahead.

With many schools lacking the resources to support Arts Programs in their curriculums, and an ArtHouse focus on those that cannot afford any participation in the arts, the ArtHouse Front-of- the-Line Priority Policy ensures that our most vulnerable community members have first access to the organization’s programs.

We must create a level playing field. Statistically, students with high involvement in the arts, including minority and low-income students, perform better in school and stay in school longer than students with low involvement.

“In 2015, ArtHouse launched Take Five, a Leadership Development Program for teens 13-17 that uses the arts as a learning mechanism as students begin to consider their futures. The success of this initiative has many touch points,” says Hagerman.

“Suddenly, we are adding issues around mental health to the work with our youth, hearing about their anxieties, the scary world of cyber communication and bullying and how often these teens can feel abandoned.

They are so open and honest with us, they see ArtHouse as a trusting environment, and our goal is to help them succeed in life.”

Many ArtHouse “Alumnae” have also become volunteers, most particularly at Camp ArtHouse, where two two-week summer Theatre Performance Programs are held at Sheridan College. This year, the organization celebrates its Seventh Season, with 100 young “campers” performing in Disney’s Annie for Kids, supported by the volunteers, led by two of the GTA’s top Directors and Choreographers and with a huge finale performance on the Theatre Sheridan stage.

Arts and Cooking Programs

Arts & Cooking Programs are also offered by ArtHouse; Photo credit: ArtHouse

And among 12 summer programs planned, ArtHouse has another first – an unprecedented and exciting new adventure awaits 25 young people as the organization initiates ArtHouse Shakes the Bard in partnership with the Oakville Public Library; a contemporary kid-friendly introduction to Shakespeare, with a little rap, a little hip-hop, pillow fights instead of sword fights and an whole lot of educational fun.

As ArtHouse looks forward with its recently endorsed Vision 2019, it will stay committed to the Halton Region.

Our major funders are keen to see us grow here and continue to deepen our reach into each of our community’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods. We are honoured to boast over 40 collaborative partners that believe in ArtHouse – we are working with over 30 venue providers, 10 Social Service Agencies, including ROCK, Community Development Halton and Kerr Street Mission, seven public schools, the Region of Halton’s Community Housing Corporation, arts organizations, our libraries and our Y’s. The support has been overwhelming, and we cherish every one of these important partnerships.

Financially, ArtHouse is looking at its most successful year of fundraising in 2016, but adds without hesitation, that growth in funding is necessary to help it achieve its Vision 2019 Goals. The organization is also on the “edge of its seat”, waiting to hear in the early Fall whether it will be awarded with an Imagine Canada  accreditation.

We believe we are living our Vision Statement, Building Better Communities Through the Arts, and we now have thousands of community stakeholders to thank for allowing us the opportunity to achieve it.


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