WHAT’S YOUR OH? Is it inspiring Art from the Heart?

“I like acting because you get to pretend. If you’re having a problem it doesn’t matter anymore because you are someone else.”

This is just one of many comments heard from participants of ArtHouse, an extracurricular art program founded by Don Pangman.

When you meet and talk with Don, you can’t help but feel the excitement of the children who participate in the programs at ArtHouse. He bubbles with enthusiasm when he speaks about the cost-free artistic programming offered by professional instructors, and the artistic passion of the children, ages 7 through 12, who delight and inspire him every day.

ArtHouse offers a variety of classes for families who carry the financial burden of paying for standard afterschool care, so children can receive free artistic instruction in a positive and caring environment – a welcome time out from every day challenges for children, and a dream come true for families. The programs are wide-ranging, from Art in the Garden where kids can create nature-friendly art projects, to fun Hip Hop and Jazz classes to teach them about artistic expression.

Along with being top-notch art teachers, ArtHouse instructors are highly attuned to each child and the many challenges they face at home and school. Don highlights research that shows addressing risky behavior at an early age can circumvent the more critical and serious issues that may arise through the teen years. In fact, many of ArtHouse’s volunteers are its alumni, who wish to remain connected and give back to the program that has done so much for them.

ArtHouse brings their unique programs to high-needs neighbourhoods, partnering with community agencies that provide helpful resources, such as administration. They also connect with remarkable venues like Sheridan College who offer studio spaces to 100 ArtHouse students in the summer – free of charge. The financial impact of this support is significant, and Don appreciates the added benefit of each child having the experience of practicing their craft at a post-secondary institution: “We hope that spending time at this venue plants the seed for considering post-secondary studies”.

Don sat on the Oakville Community Foundation (The Foundation) board for five years, while also acting as Chair of Oakville United Way. These concurrent roles developed a deep understanding of the Oakville community’s needs, and the organizations serving those needs. It also created a life-long friendship with The Foundation.

The Foundation, through its’ Fundholders and community granting initiatives, have been keen supporters of ArtHouse and have provided over $70,000 in funding since the doors opened in 2009. During that time, nearly 5,000 children have enrolled in various afterschool and summer camp programs. The Foundation admires ArtHouse for their programming, the opportunities they provide to children, and their active work in community collaboration.

Based on the success of the Oakville programs, and the recent expansion into Burlington, Don has plans for opening ArtHouse programs in Milton too.

Learn more about the amazing work Don and ArtHouse do for our local community here.