A New and Bright Future

For the past 26 years, the Avenue Road Arts School has been home to more than 1,000 students annually who have come to study the arts with our inspiring teachers. Then came the pandemic, which wiped out our live classes and closed our building at 460 Avenue Road.

Amazingly, the School has not only survived this near-death experience, but it is thriving in an entirely new way.

In April, 200 brave students signed up to do online what they'd only ever done in person. Starting with 25 virtual classes, by August we were delivering 40, and enrollment had increased by 50% to 300. Today, almost 500 students are enjoying our 55 online workshops. And they are flocking in from across Canada as well as the US and Europe.

Our 25-person team of artist-instructors has also grown to meet the rising tide of students. There's even a Virtual Creative Hub offering free art lessons and resources on our website.

Students have taken classes in subjects ranging from Mixed Media Explorations and Women in Abstraction to Landscape Painting and Advanced Digital Photography and Architecture for Kids. And speaking of kids, our extensive scholarship program still provides the means for any child without adequate financial resources to attend our online courses – just like we did for our in-person courses.

In short, we've built a viable, growing online business with a real future.

The one casualty has been our beloved building. It remains shut and will likely stay closed for a good while yet. We've made the painful decision to vacate the building, and it is now for sale. There's just no way to make a close-contact business model work anymore - certainly not within the small studio spaces at 460 Avenue Road.

Many other businesses have faced this problem. Yet we are lucky to have transitioned to a different model: one that is already working and will certainly keep expanding. We were once a bricks-and-mortar arts school; now, we're a virtual arts school.

In 1979, I started with six kids in my basement and ran pre-school children's programs there for 14 years. In 1993, I founded the Avenue Road Arts School, and in 2005, Liana Del Mastro became the School's Director. Liana is capably leading our move into the digital world. I continue to nourish the idea of a broader-based art school – one that engages people within the far reaches of the city, in smaller centres across Canada, and across the globe.

This has been a huge adjustment for us all, and we've decided to enthusiastically jump into this new world. We look forward to a future when we can meet in person, perhaps in a new location, representing the unique and bold vision we have for the School.

Lola Rasminsky, C.M. Founder,
Avenue Road Arts School

Avenue Road Arts School - Online Art Classes & Workshops