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The Visual Arts Programme at EYA

The studio environment that we create at EYA, in addition to our philosophy in Art education, works incredibly well for students interested in developing their portfolio.

Portfolio Diversity

Colleges, Universities, and future clients all look for diversity in an artist's portfolio.  Meaning that the work an artist has gathered in their portfolio needs to represent the range of their skill set.  A great portfolio should reflect a variety of mediums, techniques, and experience.  EYA has a wide variety of art applications to offer: Illustration, Painting, Mural Installation, Silkscreening, Sculpture (often small scale and limited materials), Sewing/Textiles (a new and evolving infusion into the program), and Photography.  Considering what the Art studio has to offer and the new possibilities with the addition of our tech program, we can offer a lot of options for our students to create a very well-rounded portfolio.

Student Centred & Flexible

In all our Art classes, the work students take on is self-selected and co-constructed with the teacher to help them explore new subjects, techniques, and/or to develop their skills.  Beyond the introduction to new ideas within these explorations, students have the opportunity to also experiment and focus on subject matter, themes, and techniques on a scale and timeframe that best suits them.  There is no pressure to produce the more traditional "results" expected of art students, or even finished products, so long as the student experiences artistic growth and benefits from the work.  I'm reminded of the saying, "You get what you put in."  Meaning that any student who takes an Art course at EYA will create the opportunity and experience they're looking for simply by having the interest and motivation to do so.

Course Options

We offer 5 different Art courses, representing 20 sections, that sometimes alternate between years to offer the most diverse selection. 

  • AWD Visual Design - An Open Studio course, perfect for building a portfolio and exploring Art making.
  • AWQ Photography - Paired with English next year to develop narratives and tell stories.
  • AVI Visual Arts - This is our "Making Art with Meaning" course that helps students learn how to develop our ability to read artistic cues in the work of other artists to understand what they're communicating... and also to develop our ability to make art with similar cues to help our work communicate our intention (like using symbols, juxtaposition, colour, composition, text..., etc)  
  • AWO Silkscreening - Exactly what it sounds like...  We focus on creating designs that can translate to work that can be silkscreened onto fabric and other materials.  Our programme will grow next year to work textile design into this and we will begin learning how to sew.
  • AWU Art and Culture - This is our "Story of Art: A Survey of Art from Prehistoric to Contemporary."  It's an Art History course to help us understand how Art evolved to where it is today by tackling the narrative, exploring themes, building vocabulary, and discussing culturally relevant perspectives.


Throughout the year, EYA will often tackle a few large scale projects including mural requests, fulfilling silkscreen work orders, running silkscreen workshops, selling artwork in pop-ups, and showing our work in the annual Alt9 Art show in collaboration with Xpace Cultural Centre (Alternative Tentacle 16).  Not only can art students at EYA develop the portfolio they want, but they can also build upon their artist CV (resume) by volunteering for the many initiatives we participate in each year.  The art show is a great opportunity to earn some genuine gallery showing and curatorial experience.  Our Art show takes place during the one of the busiest months of the year for the Art scene in Toronto, which happens to be one of the best places in Canada to make Art, which is one of the best countries in the world to be an artist... the spiel for that is a bit more exciting in person, but trust me when I say that this is a pretty big deal for high school Art students.

I tell lots of stories and like showing Art students how far they can grow as young artists, giving them opportunities to learn many things while challenging their notions/philosophies of Art making.

- Adam Passarello, EYA Visual Arts Teacher/Mentor 

Mural Unveiling