Nancy Macdonald is an “autodidact”. That is, someone who is self-taught and in her case, it was her love and curiosity of the art world that drew her in. Her style is fresh and inspiring. Art Studio (not just) for Chidden has served over 6500 families in her North Toronto community, over the last 20 years.  Word of mouth helped to keep her classes and workshops consistently in demand. But she doesn’t only instruct kids classes! She has seen an increase in demand for her fun, meaningful workshops with bridal parties, girlfriends’ birthdays, moms’ night out, multi-generational family projects and even corporate experiences. It’s for everyone at any age. She also leads art retreats out of the city for adults and art camps for children. The results are impressive as she often features the final results on her Instagram. She refers to it as “art that you make that you would actually put on the wall.”

She tells us that she loves everything about instructing people at her studio, she recently moved into a larger and brighter space. “It’s like my kingdom with creativity at it’s core!” says Nancy. “It is a place to share thoughts, trouble shoot life problems, reinforce values, find joy in the simple and make beauty.  I love that I can make a safe oasis from daily life where we can calmly enjoy the creative process and be good to each other. I love the pride that my artists of all ages take in their final product and the joy they find in the process. No experience or artistic talent is required. My task is to set you all up to succeed.”

Her approach to teaching is a proven step-by-step method. She shares techniques and her best practices learned with her students so that they can achieve what they may have thought was impossible. “I am myth busting- ART is like everything else- something to work at diligently and joyfully with confidence and can do attitude. Put in the time and you will make beauty,” said Nancy.

And she’s continues to learn herself. In fact, she sets aside every Monday morning for herself and calls them her “go to school days” and as a creative and explorer type, she is constantly thinking and doing. She’s been doing so ever since she was little.

How has the pandemic affected her art studio? Nancy mentioned that she felt fortunate that the pandemic actually helped her studio experience tremendous growth. In March 2020, she cancelled all in-person business and took two weeks to learn about virtual teaching. She quickly pivoted her business to take place online like so many others. Art Studio for Children’s Zoom art programs included complete art kits, enabling greater ease for her clients. She was astounded by the demand. After 18 months, she’s now offering a hybrid program that offers small in-person classes as well as online.

“The pandemic allowed me to discover a flexibility within my business and a freedom to do what I do from anywhere and to reach all of you anywhere,” said Nancy.
During this time, she also made a move to a larger and newly renovated blissful space. She’s thrilled with the natural light available and excited to welcome more students as restrictions continue to safely ease up.

Words to Live By

So, what are some of her most popular classes?
 Weekly classes are very popular for those who believe in the ARTS as a keystone subject. Her Original Family Portrait is an ASFC favourite especially as a lead up for gift giving before the holidays, Father’s Day and Mother’s day. The Words to Live By project is beloved as are her  design workshops where students can create abstract art to use in the creation of custom/unique product.

This would make a thoughtful and personal gift for friends, family, or yourself! Nancy uses a different approach to create works of art that can also be translated into wearable art pieces — think leggings, tote bags, make up bags and more. If you’re looking to freshen up your home decor or want a safe studio space to create your own modern work of art yourself, or with your family and friends, this is an incredibly fun and welcoming space to check out! Hint: holidays are coming!

You can learn more about Nancy’s art workshops and classes here.