Access the Central Okanagan – Participate in Art

Participating in the Arts has many positive effects. It promotes mental wellbeing by exploring the creative side. It brings people together in social settings for common, positive outcomes. It exercises parts of the body, increasing manual dexterity. Most important, it’s good fun!

Seeing an advertisement for an art class I was interested in, I contacted the New Arts Collective. I’m in a wheelchair, so I mentioned it. The space is on the second floor of a heritage building that is not wheelchair accessible. While this could be a commentary on building codes, business licenses and accessibility issues with heritage buildings, it isn’t. Instead, it is an exploration of the availability of accessible arts classes.

As mentioned, the New Arts Collective isn’t wheelchair accessible. However, what is very accessible is their attitude! They go out of their way to link up anyone who is unable to access their classes with places that offer the same class in an accessible venue or put people in touch with the artist directly. This means that they are setting up with customers with other art organizations, so that they are losing much needed funds. They recognize their lack of physical accessibility, but make up for it in an upfront, open attitude.

From the New Arts Collective, I moved on to the Kelowna Art Gallery. Not only is gallery accessible, but classes are offered in an accessible classroom.

Many classes can also be found in the City of Kelowna Recreation Guide, but given the wide number of venues used, it’s important to check out the accessibility of each venue.

The Rotary Centre for the Arts also has opportunities for disabled artists. One of the most well-known and well established is the Cool Arts Society, which believes that “everyone should have equal opportunities to express themselves through art” It certainly lives this believe with the exciting classes, projects and exhibitions that it puts on, and a board of directors that includes disabled artists.

Do you know about more art opportunities that are particularly accessible, either in their physical space or their attitude? Let us know at

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