In 1979, Arts Umbrella opened its doors to 45 children, an endeavour buoyed by the dream of five passionate artists concerned about the lack of arts education available to young people in the community. Their dream was to instill in all children a love of the arts and to inspire young people to become confident, creative, and compassionate citizens. Over the more than four decades since then, we have continued to build on the vision established by Arts Umbrella’s founders, striving to provide a place where young people ages 2-22 can flourish, developing strength and confidence and finding the freedom that comes with self-expression.
Whole-self learning is the philosophy that guides every program at Arts Umbrella. From toddlers arriving for their first visual arts, dance, or drama class to teens training in our intensive programs before heading out into the professional world, we believe that arts education goes past training artists who are proficient at their craft; we provide the space and time for students to examine the world and their place in it, using their arts education as a foundation for life, no matter where their professional path takes them.
Rigour & Opportunity
All programs at Arts Umbrella are led by a faculty of more than 200 educators and practicing artists that bring a wealth of educational and professional experience to our studios. Our student journey includes pre-school to post-secondary, offering access at every stage of a young person’s development. Fundamentals of craft and technique are established for every discipline. At all levels, students are encouraged to engage critically with the challenges set before them as opportunities, knowing the rewards of accomplishment that spring from hard work, self-discipline, and dedication.
A Caring Community
At Arts Umbrella, students and their families find a community of peers who are engaged and similarly passionate. Though art can be an inherently individual pursuit, training is elevated by working collaboratively. Students discover self through relationship with others and responsibility to the ensemble; that which an individual brings to their craft strengthens and elevates the group as a whole.
A Multi-Disciplinary Hub
The opportunities provided to our students are limitless. Studios specific to each discipline allow instructors to teach and students to train to their fullest potential. Unique to Arts Umbrella is the offering of so many artistic disciplines in the same space. From clay sculpture and sketching techniques to musical theatre and filmmaking to ballet and choreographic workshops, Arts Umbrella students arrive to learn and leave inspired, surrounded by other young people’s imagined creations taking form.
Accessible Arts Education
At Arts Umbrella, we strive to ensure that all young people, regardless of economic or social circumstance, are provided with the opportunity to access a high-quality arts education. We reach approximately 20,000 young people across Metro Vancouver annually, with nearly 75% served through bursaries, scholarships, and donor-funded community programs.