A.R.T. (A Real Thought) In Action is a registered non-profit that provides free art workshops and programs to youth ages 14-29 that are facing multiple barriers in Ottawa and Nunavut. Through A.R.T. In Action, youth receive guidance from creative professionals and a safe space to explore creativity and self-expression while inspiring confidence and growth.

free art workshops youth ottawa


Our mission is to provide creative art, entrepreneurial and mentorship programs designed to support and enhance the well-being of youth facing multiple barriers.

We are dedicated to delivering free art workshops and providing various funding that gives youth an opportunity to learn from professionals, grow their skills and gain confidence.


We believe in shaping a world for our future generations where creativity and the arts are valued, where youth are inspired to pursue their passions and where we work together as a community to create a positive and supportive environment.



  • Recognizing youth artists of all walks of life for their work and paying them
  • Making sure our A.R.T. Educators and staff members are compensated for their time and skills
  • Being inclusive and respectful of others regardless of their race, gender, religious upbringing, sexual orientation, culture, disabilities and limitations
  • Being open to new collaborations, partnerships and future programming with organizations, businesses, individuals and youth.



A.R.T. In Action works with organizations to meet their needs of the youth participants. We have had the opportunity to offer the following workshops, and are always open to learning and facilitating other styles of interest to the youth.

  • Acrylic
  • Watercolour
  • “Zero Waste” using natural paints and materials
  • Upcycled materials
  • Mixed Media
  • Photography
  • Video Production
  • Basic machine sewing, hand sewing and textile art
  • Health and Wellness, such as Yoga
  • Entrepreneurship & Art Mentorship / E-Commerce  (how to sell your art online)

How long do the programs last?

Our partner organizations receive a full 12 weeks of art workshops, once a week for 2 hours. However, we are open to doing a one day or weekend program.

What do participants receive?

Our organization aims to:

  • provide free 12 weeks of art workshops
  • provide guidance from our professional A.R.T. Educator(s)
  • provide healthy snacks and beverages during each workshop
  • provide all art supplies for the participants
  • provide the opportunity to collaborate with other artists, youth or organizations
  • provide the opportunity for youth to sell or showcase their art work
  • provide the opportunity for a youth to be an A.R.T. Assistant with compensation


  • Art promotes self-confidence, builds communication and problem-solving skills
  • Art provides a way for youth to express themselves and can be an outlet for mental health
  • Youth show a stronger overall academic performance
  • It helps youth transition into adulthood
  • The arts contribute to creating healthy and supportive communities for youth
  • Youth learn to feel connected, capable, courageous and made to feel like they countSource: Canada Council for the Arts: Impact of Arts on Canadian Life


art in action ottawa free art workshops for youth

What We’ve Achieved

  • 2013 – Received $1000 from a private funder for our first 6 week workshop
  • 2014 – Received a Soup Ottawa grant of $2,150
  • February 2015 – Hosted a free 6 week art workshop with 8-12 attendees.
  • July 2015 – Rebranded logo and website
  • October 6, 2015 – became a registered non-profit
  • February 2016 – Announced A.R.T. In Action officially as non-profit through an event called A.R.T. Night and awarded two youth a grant and mentorship so they could start their small business and creative art project
  • June, 2016 – Received funding from the Government of Nunavut to bring A.R.T. In Action to the Hamlet of Arviat in July 2016.
  • May 11, 2016 – began free twelve week art workshops at Operation Come Home to end August 11, 2016
  • July 10, 2016 – Hosted a free 10 day art workshop and completing a mural in the Hamlet of Arviat.
  • September 2016 – Received a $300 grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa to start a twelve week workshop with Ability First Ottawa
  • 2016 – Completed a mentorship program with two youth, paying out $1500
  • March 2017 – Completed a one day workshop for blind and low vision kids and youth at the ViewsAGM in Toronto.
  • Partnered with VibeArts on their Canada150 Mural Project in Toronto Subway System – youth from Arviat, Nunavut and Ottawa participated
  • August 2017 – Arviat youth had their Canada150 mural published on First Air’s Above & Beyond inflight magazine
  • February 2018 – partnered with MadeMill and prototypeD, offering three weekends of 3D printing, VR painting and motion capture for youth of Ability First Ottawa


What We’re Doing Now

  • Planning our fourth satellite workshop for youth in the Hamlet of Arviat, Nunavut
  • Starting our fifth twelve week art workshop for youth with Ability First Ottawa
  • Starting two six week workshop for youth with visual impairments in Ottawa in association with CNIB.
  • Completing an annual A.R.T. Mag for you by youth, and paying youth for submissions