ArtWorth’s History 

Mel Moyer

Inspired by Mel Moyer’s vision, ArtWorth was conceived in the late fall of 2005 when a small group of parents, grandparents and artists met at the Warkworth Heritage Centre to discuss delivering a summer arts day camp for the children of Trent Hills. A guiding principle was to offer children the opportunity to grow and express themselves through the arts facilitated by professional artists based in the Trent Hills community.

In early 2006 a working Steering Committee headed by Heidi Schaeffer was formed and two one week camps were offered and were quickly fully subscribed. Members of this committee included David Lyon, and Steven and MJ Haylestrom who contributed greatly to the formation of Artworth. Sara Jane Shakura, and Monica Johnston have been a guiding force on the steering committee since the beginning. Camps were based at the Warkworth Town Hall Centre for the Performing Arts, while several other venues in town were occasionally used. A full day field trip to an outside studio was included for wood turning, raku pottery firing and silk screening. Children in both camps participated in an end of camp show for parents and interested community members. Mel Moyer provided parent and camper evaluations, which showed a high degree of satisfaction with most aspects of the camps and the ArtWorth organization.

In the first two years, approximately 15 local artists had been involved in teaching.

In 2007, the Steering Committee decided to again offer two one week camps for children 8 – 12 and to offer a one-week teen camp. Artworth held a successful movie-making camp week in 2009 for youth (12 to 15). In 2010, many of the youth who had graduated from Artworth went on to join our first youth leadership program and became our first volunteer teens at Artworth.

After the first two years, Artworth moved from the Warkworth townhall to St. Paul’s United Church. We are very grateful to St. Paul’s Church for it’s ongoing support and commitment to the children of Trent Hills. We are also grateful to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church for allowing us to use their basement facility for our physical theatre classes. Further gratitude is extended to The Warkworth Community Service Club and Spirit of the Hills Northumberland Hills Arts Association for their ongoing financial support, and our bursary donors the Warkworth 50+ Club and the Ruth Stephens Memorial Bursary. It is these partnerships that show that our community is thriving through it’s ability to work together for common causes.

Artworth is heading into it’s eleventh year of providing a superlative arts experience to rural youth.

Artworth’s vision is to actively encourage young people to fall in love with art and to be the future stewards of this cultural environment. Our leadership training program for our teen volunteers allows the “graduates” of Artworth to continue to be involved and continues their exposure to the arts. It also provides opportunities of mentorship for the youth from the artists. In this way we can ensure their continued involvement in our cultural environment.

Because Artworth started from within the community, it has a history of continuing to meet the needs of that community. Forinstance, Artworth brings children together from many different backgrounds, creating bursarys to help fund those who cannot afford it.

In 2011 Artworth introduced First Nations art to it’s curriculum. We live fairly close to the Alderville First Nations Reserve, yet our communities remain separate. With the inspiration from Rick Beaver, an Alderville First Nations artist , in 2012 we ran a student exchange program between Alderville and Warkworth, where each Wednesday Artworth travelled from Warkworth to the Alderville Black Oak Savanna . This brought the unique First Nations perspective to Artworth, and a mutual cultural understanding to both our children and theirs.

In 2012 Monica Johnston stepped forward as our Artistic Director and we are proud to follow her unique vision of building art in the community.

In 2013 Artworth received the Cultural Award of Merit from the Trent Hills 2013 Civic Awards. 

2014 saw Artworth continue to develop community links, this time by connecting with our past.  Children video taped interviews with seniors from the community, had a cookie bake off which was judged by the seniors at Millcreek Manor, refurbished the “Small Villages” garden projects which we had placed in the gardens at the library, the nursing home and the seniors’ residence.  They had the opportunity to consolidate what they learned through a trip to Lang Pioneer Village.

In 2015 we celebrated our 10th Anniversary.  But amidst all of the excitement, Monica Johnston quietly stepped down as our artistic director.  Thank you Monica for a stellar four years!

2016 we surfed new waves and old as we explored waves of water, sound, and light. The town joined us in an epic games day in the park. And our artists, and wonderful Project Coordinator Trish York led us to another exciting and successful year of camp.