On a recent walk up Yonge Street north of Eglinton, something new and very different caught my eye. The new storefront window of CLAP Art Studio immediately drew me inside.
Laura Sheu, co-owner of CLAP, says she was always creative when she was growing up and wanted to share her passion for art. She owns the studio with her mom, Lily Leung, who Sheu says is “an artist in the kitchen.”
CLAP, which stands for Create Learn Art Play, is a bright, cheerful new art studio that offers “unique art programs for kids and adults of all ages.” Its vision is to “give people a space where they can come in and feel welcome and where they can express and explore their creativity freely.”
The passion for CLAP was enthusiastically shared by Sheu’s friends and family. During the Nov. 13 soft opening of the studio, relatives and friends each chose a tile on the ceiling to paint in any design they wished, using sponges and acrylic paints. Although the “adults [in the group] were skeptical at first,” the result was a beautiful, eclectic expression of freedom.
Sheu chose Yonge-Eglinton for the studio because she loves the neighborhood. CLAP is all about supporting local businesses so they promote others in the area whenever possible by giving out their business cards and displaying their flyers in the studio.
There are no boundaries in CLAP’s classes as its teachers firmly believe that art should not be restrictive. Students of CLAP are given the tools, techniques and guidance to encourage them to try and improve their artistic skills and it can provide a welcome escape.
After a tough day, coming to CLAP is a “way of releasing emotions.”
There is freedom in art. Unlike work, where often projects require approval, there is “no right or wrong with art.”
Besides programs such as painting and drawing, Scrap Art Sculpturing, Found Object Structuring, Art through the Ages and Stop-Motion Animation, CLAP also offers programs that focus on mindfulness, such as Up-cycled Art Journaling.
While kids are busy in class parents can also relax in one of the brightly colored lounges or waiting areas. The only time parents or caregivers need to actually attend a class with their child is for the Fine Art For My Parent and I class for children age one to two.
CLAP is meant to be a fun place, but for people who want to take it more seriously, or who are considering applying to an art college or university, the studio offers an Introduction to Portfolio and helps students prepare for school applications.
Teachers at CLAP are either Ontario certified or have over 20 years’ experience teaching art. When the teachers were hired, Sheu said it was most important that they “fit into our vision and be like-minded.”
Teachers here “do it for the love of art and for the love of teaching” to people of all ages. Besides having experience teaching children and young adults, they “are very well-versed in teaching seniors as well.”
No matter the age group, the message they try to instill in students is that “there is beauty in everything.”
One of CLAP’s main goals is to help kids and adults “create a sense of ownership and build confidence” which is what led to the creation of CLAP aprons and clear plastic boxes for students to take completed work home in.
“When you have something to carry your masterpiece in it makes you see the value in what you created and helps students build confidence.” It also helps them to realize that their work “should be treated with care and respect”
Sheu says a lot of times, people don’t think they are good enough to do art. However, her belief is that “You can be good at anything if you put your heart in it” and that “everyone is an artist in their own right.”
To enquire about prices or for more information go to www.clapstudio.ca.
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