Destiny Swiderski, the architecture/artist who created this piece of public art — a mural sculpture featuring waxwings in copper done in Edmonton — has started a program at the MAC to teach kids how to create art with architecture. — Destiny Swiderski

New program in Parksville to teach kids art and architecture

Edmonton public artist holding multi-month program at MAC

Young artists interested in getting their ideas out into the real world have a new learning opportunity at the MAC.

Destiny Swiderski, an architectural designer and public artist who’s created three national public art projects, is holding a two-and-a-half month program to teach kids seven to 16 years old how to create their art through architecture.

The program will teach skills like sketching and model-making while giving participants an understanding of scale and proportion, light and shadow, use of local materials and sustainability.

Using simple projects, Swiderski said she hopes to provide young artists with a whole new avenue to build their art in the real world.

“The first project is… collect 10 sticks, 10 stones and on a piece of foam core, glue them all together to make a space, or a gateway or a procession,” said Swiderski. “It will be really interesting to see. It’s the same project, but everyone has a different kind of view of what that is to them.”

The last project will be for the students to build models of their dream tree house, and build them all in the same scale so that the class can create a tree house village.

Swiderski said she became interested in introducing kids to architecture and public art after her latest major public art project in Edmonton.

The piece, named Amiskwacîw Wâskâyhkan Ihtâwin (Cree for beaver hill house park), is a sculptural mural featuring cedar waxwings in copper.

“The whole public art project had to do with community engagement… I did three workshops with indigenous youth and local community members,” said Swiderski.

Each participant was tasked with creating a design for a bird. Swiderski later created decals out of their designs and affixed them to each bird, making them all unique.

“I really enjoyed that process of working with youth and seeing how creative the young minds were,” she said.

With her program, she hopes to provide a new way for kids to express themselves, which draws on local materials, a sense of the local community, and encourages kids to build and work with their hands.

“Architecture is not just about four walls and a roof,” she said. “It’s about the psychology of the public, it’s about the ecology, it’s about the land – a lot of different things.”

With some simple and fun projects, Swiderski said she hopes to get young artists started in seeing their art as a public structure.

The program is split into two age groups. For ages seven to 12 years, an hour-and-a-half class runs Mondays between Sept. 11 and Nov. 27 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the MAC.

The classes for 13-16 years run Thursdays from Sept. 7 to Nov. 23 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The cost is $390 plus GST.

For more info including how to register, go to or call 250-586-5598.

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