Picassos Garage Art Therapy Studio
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art therapy studio for kids

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Picasso's Garage, owned by Claire Nicholls, is proud to have inspired creativity for 18 years. What began as a three-week summer camp in 2005 has blossomed into a thriving art school that includes kindergarten and after-school classes five days a week, plus an annual summer art camp (2014-2018). Nicholls has built a loyal following, with some students returning year after year. She finds inspiration in their commitment and challenges herself to broaden her knowledge of art history. She says, "I'm so grateful for a job that doesn't seem like work most of the time" (2014).

Over 600 students have enrolled in the art programs over the years, exploring more than 300 different artists. Word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied parents and students have kept demand high, prompting Picasso's Garage to expand into a larger venue at Toronto's Evergreen Brick Works during the summer camps (2014-2018). Children attending the camp are immersed in creative projects inspired by various artists and techniques, including drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking. They find inspiration not only in the hands-on artistic expression but also in the tranquil natural surroundings.

In 2017, Picasso's Garage expanded its services to include art-based psychotherapy. Due to pandemic restrictions in 2020, group art lessons were no longer feasible. The studio shifted its focus exclusively to providing individual art therapy, especially children and youth experiencing challenges related to parental separation or divorce, childhood anxiety, and childhood depression. "Art therapy combines the creative process and psychotherapy, facilitating self-exploration and understanding. Using imagery, colour and shape as part of this creative therapeutic process, thoughts and feelings can be expressed that would otherwise be difficult to articulate" (CATA).

Picasso's Garage Art Studio has been recognized for its excellence. It was ranked #3 for "Kids at Play" in Toronto Life's Top 300 "City's Best" (2014). In 2016, Picasso's Garage Art Camp was named one of the top five "Things for Kids to Do this Summer" by Toronto Life Magazine and a top ten "Best Summer Day Camps in Toronto" by SavvyMom.ca. As Nicholls puts it, "The experience of running these classes has shown me firsthand the positive impact of the creative process for both kids and adults."


studio owner

Claire Nicholls, DTATI, RP

Professional Art Therapist & Registered Psychotherapist

Claire@PicassosGarage.com


studio location

Art Therapy Studio

Davisville Village Garage Studio

525 Hillsdale Avenue East, Toronto ON M4S 1V1

BENEFITS OF ART THERAPY:

Expressive | Art is an outward expression of energy, thoughts, and feelings.

Familiar | The process of creating art is familiar with need no special instruction to get started.

Whimsical | Working creatively in a non-judgmental and non-academic way allows for a joyful experience.

Positive | Being creative can be an enjoyable experience that positively shifts moods.

Externalizing | Creating artwork provides children with a medium to express complex issues that are often hard to articulate while providing a new perspective.

Empowering | Finding success in the creative process improves one's skills and appreciation of mastery, strengthening their self-esteem.

Concrete | Artwork remains with the child as a positive reminder of their creativity and accomplishments.

Mindful | Creating art provides an opportunity for individuals to practice focus and mindfulness.