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Photos: Colin Noden/Apt613

A treasure trove of art resources at the Ottawa School of Art Orléans Campus

By Colin Noden on June 26, 2019

I stumbled across a treasure trove of artistic resources in the art school at the Shenkman Art Centre. Call me dense, but I’ve never noticed it before. I wondered how many people in Orléans and Ottawa East know what’s waiting there for them.

Stacks of easels everywhere. Photo: Colin Noden/Apt613.

Nadine Argo, instructor and Ottawa School of Art Orléans Campus Gallery Coordinator, understood my surprise. I met her during the annual Alumni exhibit for the Ottawa School of Art’s diploma students. “Many people live in Orléans for years and don’t know we’re here. I have people telling me they thought this building was a convention centre. But the people who know about it have made it their home. I even see people coming to read in the lobby, surrounded by the art.”

“Many people live in Orléans for years and don’t know we’re here.”

OSA Orléans is there to unlock the joy of creativity and rebalance our lives. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is or what your long-term artistic intentions are. They’re trying to supply the resources in as convenient a way as possible.

Photo: Colin Noden/Apt613

Take the kids’ program, for example. Children and Teen Summer Camp registration is now open, and they have included pre- and post-activity care as an option. Administrative Officer Andrea Crosley also emphasized that they focus on fun and variety in their instructional approach with indoor and outdoor activities.

The freedom to experiment while learning is central to the teaching approach at OSA Orléans. Andrea told me it attracted her as a student several years ago. “You could experiment and start by just throwing paint on something to see what it looked like. Then the instructors would help you refine your techniques.”

Speaking of fun: What if going to a strange place to do something you’ve never done terrifies you? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Even the most accomplished artists can feel that way.

Lorna Ramlochansing preparing for a sculpture class. Photo: Colin Noden/Apt613.

“I tried to do the same thing with my sculpture. I made my sketch, but the wire armature just refused to cooperate. The instructor told me to go with it and see what happens. And you know? I like it. It brings out an emotion that wasn’t in the sketch.”

Lorna Ramlochansing is one of North America’s premier tapestry artists. She’s been creating and touring with her art for nearly two decades. And now she is sitting in a sculpture class being humbled by a piece of wire.

“Tapestry is a very technical art form. All the creativity happens in the preparatory design and loom setup. Satisfaction comes during the weaving as you see your creation come alive.”

The result of a stubborn armature. Photo: Colin Noden/Apt613.

“I tried to do the same thing with my sculpture. I made my sketch, but the wire armature just refused to cooperate. The instructor told me to go with it and see what happens. And you know? I like it. It brings out an emotion that wasn’t in the sketch.”

What’s next for Lorna after she finishes sculpture? “Printmaking. It’s another tactile art form. I feel more secure starting with my hands. They’re a part of me that is used to creating. I’m excited to learn more about the mixing of colour. Tapestry is like the pixels on a digital image. The blending happens in the viewer’s eye. Printmaking will allow me to work with colour in a more fluid manner. Then I’ll work my way to painting.”

Painters working with a live model. Photo: Colin Noden/Apt613.

I asked Lorna what attracted her to OSA Orléans. “It was partly circumstance. My husband died. I had to move from our country home into the city, and winter was coming on. I didn’t want the solitude it can bring. My husband was a photographer, and very involved in my work. I knew I needed something to help me continue to grow as an artist. I really enjoy it here. The staff are caring, and I’ve discovered a wonderful artistic community.”


The Ottawa School of Art, Orléans Campus is located in the Shenkman Arts Centre (245 Centrum Boulevard). Detailed course information can be found on the Orléans Campus website. The galleries are free for viewing Monday and Tuesday 9am-5pm, Wednesday and Thursday 9am-8:30pm, Friday 9am-4:30pm, and Saturday 11am-5pm. Galleries are closed Sunday except for special events.


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