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Directions & Opportunities 406
Directions & Opportunities

 VISUAL ARTS at MMHS - INTEGRATED DIRECTIONS                           
  TO ADDRESS THE INTERESTS OF STUDENTS, SCHOOL & COMMUNITY                                   

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We support students to prepare for post-secondary study in the Visual Arts and other fields, through comprehensive course design, meaningful course-work and real-world connection, aligned with Ministry of Education, YRDSB, MMHS mandates.  Individual skills-building, ​differentiated instruction are all part of the journey towards autonomous life-long learning.  (see our COURSES page for details)

To Venture means to actively engage in a new defined outward direction. large part of what we do does not fit into a schedule.  It's about awareness and fluid connection, recognizing the ways creative work can support personal and community goals and  how the department can foster a harmony between the two.   Like other venture groups, we use our strengths to support others' worthy efforts, but our capital is not monetary, it is CREATIVITY.   We use Creative Process to guide our Ventures, toward meaningful manifestation.

VENTURES matches students' work and interests with naturally aligned initiatives (school, board, community, post-secondary and professional).   These real world connections expand student resumes, portfolios, skills-sets and future opportunity.  Involvement in meaningful work and connection is a major aspect of satisfaction and life design (see a link to Adam Lepzig's TED Talk on this topic on our Creative Careers page).   Visual Arts Ventures are also an opportunity to gauge priorities and set limits, build personal balance, and self- governance, all aspects of resilience.  

Show us what you are working on, tell us what interests you... potential connection awaits.
Visit​ our NEWS/BLOG page and see below, for some of our Visual Arts Ventures Network connections:

One of our major aims is to support students in their current independent and collaborative creative work. We provide space and consultation for independent learning and prepare students for the changing workplace, which can include trends toward shared project, meeting and 'maker' spaces. Our spaces are available for focused work, by arrangement.

Portfolio Development, personal direction and consultation is part of this. Effective projects and portfolios consider sequence, unity and refinement in alignment with varied programmes of interest,  requirements and potential opportunities. 


Please Note: 
Due to Current Public Health Recommendations and classroom scheduling, 
Open Studio is not offered at this time

Visual Arts DISCOVERY is a mindful, sustainable creative activity​ in  a welcoming, inclusive space.  Anyone may participate in any of our offerings in an ongoing or sporadic manner.  The door to DISCOVER is always open. 

Listen to announcements and visit the message board for details.   DISCOVERY focuses on art for personal exploration and wellness Activities and workshop leadership are open to students and staff, for students and staff, in collaborative community.  Do you have an idea and an desire to explore creative leadership by running an activity?  Drop by the Art Department.  The door to DISCOVER is always open and equal for all, when you have the space for it.

Offerings are typically held in our art rooms, and in the atrium as part of Arts Mind, in May.  Sometimes,  our activity takes place outside or to Maker Space. We have also offered Visual Arts Discovery mindful creative activities for Staff Professional Development, Equity Week, Wellness Day and Grade 8 & 9 Night Transitions Days and in conjunction with Healthy Schools, TEAM, Coop, Room 245 and other groups. Activities and workshop leadership are open to students and staff.  

Why Discovery is not called  "Art Club':   The word 'club'  can historically be associated with mandatory attendance, commitments, expectations, fees, hierarchy and exclusivity/exclusion and it can be an impediment to new experience, action and a sense welcome. In the design community, DISCOVERY is the term often given to open-ended exploration, free of expectation.  It is that sense of pressure free wonder that we seek to encourage in this offering.

(see Visual Arts Ventures Network for other focused, goal-oriented directions and opportunities)

Please Note: 
Due to Current Public Health Recommendations and classroom scheduling, Discovery activities are currently offered in a self-guided manner, through the Arts Mind Page


VOLUNTEERING - USE YOUR SKILLS for GOOD & to Document Experience
Art is useful and students often use their creativity to support initiatives within the school and community.
Our students are leaders in the creative direction of their work, receive volunteer hours, real-world experience and resume and portfolio growth from their volunteer experiences.  Our teachers help to match students with creative volunteer opportunities.
We view students as autonomous artists/designers.   Students are encouraged to choose the volunteer opportunities which best suit them and choose whether their work is offered to an initiative. We recognize the manner in which creative work and artists  have been, in many scenarios, historically undervalued and appropriated, (along with other cultural riches).  We honour the energy, individuality and cultural connections within creative work.  We foster an awareness of personal advocacy and art advocacyvaluing art and self, when offering creative work for use by others .  

Do you have a flair for design or need to 'tidy'?  If so, and you work independently, with minimal instruction, you might volunteer with the Visual Arts Department to manage room spaces and materials or document images for digital files and arrange the showcase, valid workspace skills, suitable for your resume.  

Are your interested in a type of art, specific organization or art career?  Contact the organization for potential opportunities.  Film festivals and other initiatives are often looking for youth volunteers and this makes a great addition to personal resumes, connecting you to your area of interest.  

Creative engagement leads to connection.  

Arts Knight is our signature, ongoing annual MMHS Arts collaboration with Dance, Drama, Music and Technology Departments. This year we are following a community collaboration forged by the Drama Department, with an extended LANDSCAPES theme.

Arts Mind was developed in the spring of 2018, as an all Arts week in support of Canadian Mental Health Awareness week.  See our dedicated ARTS MIND department page for details.

-Some of our recent collaborations include: 
-Green Inc. promotional, and educational materials
-D.D. project consultation and facilitation
-Co-op project work and installation design/development 
-project consultations within varied depts.
-fundraising for Best Buddies
-workshops for Wellness Day, Gr. 8 and Gr. 9 Transitions Days and Equity Week
-brand signage series for the Library Learning Commons
-discovery experiences through Maker Space, including an open collaborative installation and Black history Mura
-annual shows at GTA galleries in addition to ongoing MMHS displays, often linked to community interests
-many murals 
- upcoming Collaborations with BIRDS CANADA and SHADOWLAND THEATRE and MARKHAM CYCLES in conjunction with Earth Day 2020, Green Inc.​, Personal Alternative Education and the Arts Collective at MMHS 

Creativity is about problem-solving and Art is a hot commodity, with creativity and visual communication as integral aspects of most all endeavours.  The role of Visual Arts in wellness and communication is becoming further recognized.  We have two commissioned permanent murals on display in the Milliken Mills Community Centre and Milliken​ Mills Community Centre Library, one as a promotion for healthy activity and wellness and the other related to the joys of reading.  Other department and thematic murals, are located throughout the school.   We get it done, creatively.

 COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITIES                                                                                                                            CONTESTS, CREATIVE CHALLENGES, EXHIBITS & ARTS ORGANIZATIONS                                      
Many galleries, organizations and publications hold annual entry events.  Many of our students are involved in community gallery and YRDSB related exhibits every year.  Several of our students have been awarded distinctions in both the annual OSSTF Student Achievement Awards,  Ontario Provincial Photo Contest held by Henry's and CameraLinks.  Others have been honoured in the Law Day and Aim Sustainability contests.   We have been invited to show and participate in the Quest conference, Skills Challenge and York Region Black History Acheivment Awards.  Contests & Exhibits challenge students to apply your skills and can add to your resume and profile.  Some Arts organizations​ have student leadership groups, membership groups or take volunteers.  Visit our Department Bulletin Board for a range of creative possibilities.  There are always multiple inquiries and adventures on offer.

Be proactive, do your own searches for local, national and international contests, exhibits and festivals.   (Be aware that some organizations ask considerable fees for entries; whereas most established organizations process entrees with  minimal administrative cost or no cost.) Research and awareness build opportunity.

Life drawing of the human figure is an excellent way to prepare for post-secondary study and enhance personal portfolios.  Many programmes require this skill and understanding.  We do some life drawing and photo portraiture in class, with clothed models. Local life drawing sessions and classes are available through Winged Canvas and the Varley Gallery.  There are several other GTA offerings.  Some welcome students and may require a signed permission form.  Always consult to make sure that classes that interest you are in an approved venue and that you have parental/guardian permissions.

Please Note:
During Physical Distancing some studio drawing sessions a​re available online. 
See your course resources.

Galleries are a place of rich learning.   The city of Markham features it's own signature gallery, The Varley Gallery on Main Street, Unionville and there are many galleries throughout the GTA.  See our resource page and gallery sites for experiences on offer.

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VISUAL  ARTS IS OVERFLOWING                                                                                        
                    for more OPPORTUNITIES & CHALLENGES, VISIT OUR MESSAGE BOARD           

​​​​                                                              The art of teaching is the art of assisting Discovery. - Mark Van Doren 

                                                                                                                            K.Middleton, Subject Head, Visual Arts, MMHS, YRDSB

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