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Classes & Programs

Canadian Contemporary School of Art

Map#6 – 109 Vanderhoof Ave
Toronto, ON M4G 2H2
  • Animation & Cartooning
  • Arts
  • Film Acting & Making
  • Media
  • Photography
  • Puppetry
  • Sewing & Fashion


The Canadian Contemporary School of Art (CCSA) takes an innovative approach to art instruction and provides a warm and welcoming learning environment for kids and teens. We believe in creativity as an educational tool, one that builds a child’s confidence and the development of their problem-solving skills. Art-led interactions teach children to be imaginative and trust their intuitions.

It’s a type of experiential learning that creates opportunities for self-expression and calculated risk-taking, with an emphasis on the enjoyment of seeing one’s creative efforts lead to tangible results.


The CCSA takes a special approach to teaching painting by showing students how with simple techniques they can become accomplished artists. The class starts with a study of forms and lines and later onto drawing shapes. In our classes we always encourage adding a story to this process, there is a strong focus on creativity. An important emphasis of the class will also be to clarify just how wide the latitude is for self-expression in painting. There is no standard of perfection students need to work to, all art is celebrated. Through the use of proper techniques, students learn that any image can be made perfect in different ways. Classes include the study of art history, including the painting styles and techniques of a broad range of artists.

Our sculpture classes emphasize working with an unlimited choice of materials to create a three dimensional object, a way to help students to expand their imagination. Students learn about sculptural techniques, along with the role that form plays in the construction of objects. We practice carving, modeling and assemblage, while studying examples of traditional sculptures and comparing them to the modernist sculptural artworks. Occasionally, we invite guest artists to visit the school to teach students how they make a sculpture. At other times, our classes are off-site, providing opportunities for students to create an object outside of typical boundaries.

Textile Printing
Students will learn a range of techniques in this course, with the overall goal of understanding roles that shapes and patterns play in artistic composition. Early exercises will involve masking techniques and special fabric paint to create simple patterns with tie-dye and other materials. Lessons will then move on to experimenting with ready-made stamps on fabric. Students will make their own stamps, adapting found items or working with modeling clay etc. Classes will be accompanied by short lessons in the history of textiles and printing. Inspiration and a deeper understanding will come from study of the rich global legacy of patterns – as made by humans and the natural world.

Fashion Designing
The emphasis of this class is to learn the basics of drawing and clothing construction for fashion design, rather than an approach focused on fashion tailoring. Using fabrics, buttons and simple recycled materials, children will learn how to construct a fashion item, examining the kinds of thinking that go into this process. Focus will be on the role line, silhouette and detailing play in the conceptualization of a fashion piece — and will also involve the creation of accessories, such as hats and jewelry. Examples from the history of fashion design and style will be studied, along with discussion about current trends similar to those that can be found in contemporary fashion magazines.

Cartooning and Comic Strip Making
This course teaches a combination of skills in drawing, painting and animation. The emphasis will be more on the process of creating a narrative while also refining artistic technique. Students are led by instructors in a process of conceptualizing a story, and then deciding how to break that story down into the building blocks of a narrative. The basic components of the class will include learning about scene and location, character and characterization, time and sequence, voices in a story, points of view, and narrative resolution. The course provides hands-on experience that’s highly applicable to writing fiction, creating animations and filmmaking.

Perhaps more than any other art, filmmaking is a team effort. In this class, kids can learn valuable lessons about the collaborative filmmaking process. Students are given the opportunity to both direct and act in class productions, as each student will make their own films in team collaboration with instructors and fellow students. Students will write a short scripts and learn the fundamentals of set and sound design, make-up and costuming, shooting and use of editing tools. With completion of their films, instructors will help students with the application process for film festivals that accept work by young filmmakers.

Stop Motion Animation
After a basic introduction to various animation techniques, an instructor will lead students to first write, create, and edit their own animated films. This class will also teach students how to make a soundtrack for their animation that includes music and the recording of dialogue. Students will learn about storytelling, animating, and the detailed-oriented and labor-intensive craft that is required to make a successful animation.

In this class students learn the different techniques for puppet making, finger and hand puppets, shadow, and marionette puppetry. Students design and create their own puppets, and later build a story together. Each year, the course will feature special guest artists and their puppets, so students can experience a wide range of styles and types of puppetry. Through the creation of these special characters, students build strong self-esteem in a fun and engaging environment. This class is strongly recommended for kids who are interested in drama and theater.

The CCSA provides a digital camera for each student to use during classes. Students are also welcome to bring their own camera if they choose. Classes will focus on different styles and techniques of photography, including a study of the camera and understanding of composition. Weather permitting field trips in the neighborhood provide opportunities for children to see their immediate surroundings in a new light, using their cameras as a framing and compositional device. Studio based classes will focus on portrait, figure studies and still life photography.

Architecture is everywhere, no one teaches us how to understand the city and all its complexity. We believe that teaching children how to observe, understand and enjoy the environment will boost their creativity and will prepare them to play an active role as citizens. Our aim is to lead students toward a sensible observation of the environment, find the problems, and through their own creativity solve the problem that they were facing. We want them to focus on the building environment, look at details, and understand their connections - those which exist between spaces and the people living or interacting on those spaces.

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The Canadian Contemporary School of Art (CCSA) takes an innovative approach to art instruction and provides a warm and welcoming learning environment for kids and teens.

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