VanGo 2023


The MacLaren’s VanGo Programme employs regional artists, connecting them to classrooms across Simcoe County and engaging over 6,000 students each year. In addition to VanGo, the MacLaren offers a range of youth programmes, seasonal art camps and afterschool classes as well as workshops, events and exhibitions for audiences of all ages. All 2023 VanGo programmes are offered in both virtual and in-person formats!

The MacLaren Art Centre is excited to offer VanGo in a hybrid form to serve both virtual and in-person classes. Respecting the safety of teachers and their students and with a hopeful eye toward the future, a select roster of VanGo programmes will be offered to meet the standards of the Ontario Arts Curriculum in unique and engaging ways that encourage wellness and exploration.

Students who are regularly engaged in the arts become greater thinkers and learners. MacLaren VanGo programmes offer unique opportunities for students to meet and work with professional visual artists in the classroom and virtually. Students participate in meaningful cross-curricular activities that encourage creativity, skills development, and visual literacy, nurturing their appreciation of visual art and celebrating their strengths and abilities. VanGo artists are highly qualified, experienced art instructors dedicated to inspiring creativity in all students.

How to Book

MacLaren VanGo programmes can be booked by telephone or email Monday through Friday throughout the academic year. VanGo Gallery and in-person school programmes are available based on Public Health guidelines. When booking please let us know what program you are interested in, planned date and time, class size, and anything that will better help us serve your class. The MacLaren Art Centre requires that VanGo artists work with only one class at a time in both a virtual or in-person setting.

Note: Programme fees are based on a maximum of 30 students per class and include materials – additional materials can be included for an additional fee. VanGo materials kits will be prepared and packaged according to safety standards and will be available for pickup one week in advance.

For more information on rescheduling, cancellations and payments, please contact Natalie Fisher, Education & Community Art Assistant at 705-720-1044 ext. 232 or

To book a program, click here to use the online form at the bottom of this page.


For Primary students, VanGo artists encourage the joy of creative expression through stimulating art materials and techniques, reinforcing their understanding of the visual elements and principles of design. We invite teachers to advise VanGo artists when a programme can be connected to an area of study or a class activity.


Teachers, why not consider booking a VanGo programme for your students, K to 8 at the Gallery? 

VanGo Gallery includes a fieldtrip to the MacLaren Art Centre that begins with a guided exhibition tour followed by a VanGo programme of your choice!  Engaged by what they see in current exhibitions, students will be inspired to create art in our sunny, fully equipped art studio. 

Teachers can extend the day for their students by organizing a visit to the waterfront, the Barrie Public Library or even skating at City Hall!  

Starry Night (Grades 2-3)
Inspired by Vincent van Gogh

Class Length: Half Day (In-Person)
Cost: $300

Visit the MacLaren to experience this long-standing VanGo programme! Students will be spellbound when they try a centuries-old printing technique: paper marbling. The principles of design are discovered as students create two masterpieces using mixed media. Starry Night reinforces an understanding of warm and cool colours, silhouette and visual representation of depth. The focus is on expressive colour, rhythmic line and the correct use of scissors.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts


In the Making (Grades K-3)
Inspired by Canadian Petroglyphs

Class Length: 90 minutes (Virtual) or Half Day (In-Person)
Cost: $300

In this programme, VanGo artists will present the importance of art as an early form of storytelling, by making connections to Canadian petroglyphs and sharing their own personal art and relationship to the community. Students will create a two-dimensional drawing, and a three-dimensional form by building an expressive clay vessel and carving a pattern on its surface.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Social Studies

Mixed Beasts (Grades K-3)

Cost: $300

Students will have fun sculpting with clay, creating amazing hybrid creatures, and illustrating their natural environments. They will explore basic clay techniques and tools, developing fine motor skills and creative thinking.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Geography, Science

Waterscapes (Grades 1-3)
Inspired by French Artist Claude Monet

Class Length: 90 minutes (Virtual) or Half Day (In-Person)
Cost: $300

Students will be inspired by the Impressionist style of Claude Monet. Using acrylic paint and collage on an 11 x 14 inch canvas board, students create vibrant waterscapes through primary and tint colour mixing. The concepts of colour theory, space and texture are explored with emphasis on gestural painting techniques.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts

Fantastic Forests (Grades 1-3)
Inspired by Canadian Artist Emily Carr

Class Length: 90 minutes (Virtual) or Half Day (In-Person)
Cost: $300

Students will create an artwork inspired by the Canadian rural landscape. Using paint and collage, they will build visual images by cutting, tearing and layering shapes. Developing fine motor skills and creative thinking, the focus is on visual texture and space using organic and geometric shapes.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Geography


Our Junior and Intermediate VanGo Programmes provide students with an opportunity for a graduated understanding of the principles of design through the creative manipulation of colour, line, texture, shape and pattern. Introducing curriculum-based content and contemporary issues (context) encourages young people to understand the social significance of works of art, both past and present.


Colour My World (Grades 4-8)
Inspired by Canadian Artist Landon Mackenzie

Class Length: Half Day (In-Person)
Cost: $300

Based on references to satellite imagery of the region, students will explore abstraction by creating a large artwork on watercolour paper using artist-quality watercolour paints, brushes, white oil pastel, wax resist and pen and ink. Using traditional watercolour techniques, the focus is on creating vibrant visual maps with an emphasis on colour theory, positive form and negative space, texture, line and transparency.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Geography

Nature in Print (Grades 4-8)

Cost: $300

Students will begin their visit with a tour of the exhibition Mentor and Me. Inspired by what they see, students will create two prints utilizing water-soluble crayons and found texture, exploring the infinite variety of shapes and patterns found in nature.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Geography

Tag Me (Grades 7-8)

Cost: $300

Students will create a silkscreen print logo by learning how to print two transparent colour layers and a multiple edition.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts


Distant Horizons (Grades 4-8)
Inspired by Canadian Artist Tom Thompson

Class Length: 90 minutes (Virtual) or Half Day (In-Person)
Cost: $300

In this programme, students will be inspired by the vibrant Canadian landscape paintings of Tom Thompson. Using artist-quality soft pastels on coloured paper, students will gain confidence in drawing with this medium by learning techniques to be applied in the completion of a final landscape masterpiece. The focus is on colour theory, layering, texture, and transparency.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Geography

Light on the Land (Grades 6-8)
Inspired by Canadian Artist Lucius O’Brien

Class Length: 90 minutes (Virtual) or Half Day (In-Person)
Cost: $300

A review of Canadian landscape painters will inspire young artists to create monochrome landscapes. Using artist-quality watercolour paints, brushes and wax resist on watercolour paper, students learn about colour gradation, monochromatic scale, painting techniques, positive and negative space, texture and transparency.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Geography

The Clean Shape (Grades 7-8)
Inspired by Indigenous-Québecois Artist Rita Letendre

Class Length: 90 minutes (Virtual) or Half Day (In-Person)
Cost: $300

In this programme, students will be inspired by the abstract paintings of Indigenous-Quebecois artist Rita Letendre. Students will explore the style of hard-edge abstraction on canvas board using masking tape as a tool to paint clean shapes, lines and overlapping edges. The focus is on colour theory, layering, texture and transparency, as well as geometric and spatial reasoning.

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Math

Book VanGo Online Now!

Teacher Name(Required)
Teacher Email Address(Required)
Administrator Name
Administrator Email Address
Are there any Education Assistants present in the classroom?
Is your class located in a portable?
Do you have access to a drying rack to place artworks to dry?
Please note: the 'Colour My World', 'Nature in Print', 'Starry Night' & 'Tag Me' VANGO Gallery Programs are ONLY offered at the MacLaren, and not in the schools.
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