DAREarts Blog

Discipline, Action, Responsibility, Excellence

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The Legacy of ‘Legacy’: A Launch that Inspired a Thousand Kids

“It’s got that WOW factor,” said Orangeville Mayor, Jeremy Williams, before officially launching Ken Hall’s Legacy in the Alder Street Recreation Center.

Legacy is an anatomically correct whale skeleton made entirely out of reclaimed cedar. Inspired by the story of Hope, a whale that washed ashore on the West Coast in 2002 and had the highest levels of contaminants ever recorded in a marine mammal, Ken Hall says that Legacy, “asks us to think about our fragile ecosystem.”

Legacy at alder

The sculpture now hangs over the lobby of the Alder Street Recreation Center, and, as Mayor Williams said, you can see the awe on children’s faces as they look up at the skeleton. That children are so captivated by Legacy is fitting, as the whale has another legacy that its creator did not expect: it is the inspiration for this year’s DAREarts cards.

For the past two months, over 1000 students from 13 schools in the Headwaters area have been drawing their own whale inspired DAREarts cards. The results are stunning. Take a look!

Catherine-Z Emma-K Jessie-Y Meegan-L





Proceeds from the sale of these cards go towards supporting DAREarts programs in First Nations communities. You can order yours now!

Members from all three levels of government helped us to launch Legacy in Orangeville. In addition to Mayor Williams, Dufferin-Caledon MP, David Tilson, MPP Dufferin-Caledon, Sylvia Jones, and DAREarts Founder and President, Marilyn Field, were there to cut the ribbon beneath Legacy. Attendees were also treated to an impromptu speech by 10-year-old DAREarts Card spokesperson, Olivia, who confidently and eloquently described how Legacy and DAREarts inspired her.

Legacy Olivia

See Olivia here as well:

Thank you to the local branches of TD Canada Trust, Bryan’s Fuel, the town of Orangeville, the Alder Street Recreation Center and our other gift donors for making this event possible. Together we’ve already raised $6,500, and with your continued support, we know that we will reach our $16,000 goal.

Marilyn, Ken, Michelle, Olivia, James

Many thanks to Ed Roman for providing live music throughout the night, and Pat Burns-Wendland for fashioning the beautiful fabric that hangs above Legacy. Special thanks must be made to Ken Hall, whose two years of work on Legacy has inspired so many of our kids to think about ecology and their responsibility to help others.

Legacy Ribbon Cutting

With Legacy set to continue its nationwide tour in March, Mayor Williams finished his speech by saying, “We don’t want it to leave!” Luckily, with thousands of local students visiting the sculpture and making DAREarts cards into March, 2015, the legacy of Legacy will remain in Orangeville and the surrounding community for some time to come.


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What’s Your #WhaleTale? Kids DARE2draw Inspiration from Ken Hall!

What's Your Whale Tale?

The students at St. Benedict Elementary in Orangeville recently donated their creativity for a great cause: they’ve created DAREarts #WhaleTale Cards that will be sold to help empower Aboriginal youth across Canada! Why “Whale Tales,” you ask? This year’s card theme was created in collaboration with Ken Hall, an Orangeville-area sculptor who has harnessed his artistic skill as a voice for positive change, and was recently named “Artist of the Year” at the 2014 Orangeville Arts & Culture Awards.

Artist Ken Hall working with students at St. Benedict School

Ken Hall discusses the students’ whale tales as they draft their DAREarts Cards!

The whale is a commonly used symbol that swims throughout legends around the globe. The session started with the soothing sounds of whale songs playing on a stereo, turning the room into an ocean of sounds. Aboriginal artist Gloria Hope then drew the students into the theme with an Ojibway whale legend, explaining that the whale serves as a keeper of knowledge, wisdom, and stories.

Thoughtful smiles and a few whispers of excitement permeated the classroom as Gloria introduced Ken Hall, an artist whose own “Whale Tale” is being used to spread knowledge of current environmental challenges that affect both animals and humans alike.

Ken Hall shows his Legacy presentation

Ken Hall captivates the class with the story of Hope.

Ken’s whale tale centres on Hope, a killer whale that was found beached along the shores of Washington State in 2002. Hope’s body was found to contain the highest levels of toxic chemicals, including DDT and PCBs, ever recorded in an orca. She was named “Hope” by the local children, and she inspired Ken to construct his own artwork that would bring awareness to the challenges currently affecting the Earth’s ecosystems and the cost of neglecting the environment. His creation, Legacy, is a life-sized reconstruction of Hope’s skeleton made from reclaimed cedar.

As he shared the stories of Hope and Legacy, the students started thinking of their own causes and carefully drafted their ideas as images. With Hope’s story so fresh in their minds, many of the children started to draw whales of their own, while others began to draw pristine trees, lakes, and landscapes.

Gloria Hope working with students at St. Benedict.

Artist-Educator Gloria Hope shows a student how to blend the colours of the ocean.

We also had a special guest on the team; joining us from Dixon Ticonderoga, Kimberley Delgado was present to encourage the students and support the program. The students and DAREarts are all very thankful to Dixon Ticonderoga for donating supplies to DAREarts and giving the students pencil crayons to use and keep via the Prang Power program!

Prang Power products donated to the students by Dixon Ticonderoga.

The children were overjoyed to receive sets of vivid pencil crayons courtesy of Dixon Ticonderoga!

DAREarts would like to extend a very special thank you to photographer Pete Paterson and videographer Mick Partlett for their contributions to this year’s Whale Tales DARE2draw theme. Also, to all of our children who DARE2draw and help other children by making DAREarts Cards!

Children showcase their Whale Tale DAREarts Cards.

What’s your #WhaleTale?

To buy cards, click here or contact 1-888-540-2787 / info@darearts.com.

Click here to learn more about Ken Hall’s Legacy Project.

Click here for more information about the Prang Power program, including how you can earn free art supplies!

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A Day in the Country with Cory Trépanier


The yellowJanet-and-girls school bus from Toronto rolled into the century farm and over forty Young Ladies on the Rise, age 9 – 18 stepped into a bucolic setting in rural Caledon. As they were exclaiming on how beautiful it was, they immediately started swatting mosquitos and slapping bug spray on themselves.  They quickly realized they weren’t in the city anymore.

 Chippy-nutThey were greeted by landscape artist Cory Trépanier, his wife Janet and their two daughters Andie and Sydney with open arms and big smiles before they were taken on a hike through the woods, introduced to the family dog “Yukon” and a chipmunk that posed for pictures for a peanut.

Brook-crossing-with-Janet-and-Sydney Nature-walk-Cory's-house

Into-the-Woods!A day like this may not seem like a big deal to a lot of kids, but these girls rarely get the opportunity to leave the city and enjoy what country kids take for granted. DAREarts Founder Marilyn Field created this event so that these ladies from Rexdale could enjoy open spaces, clean streams and green places as well as the inspiration of great art and music in the open air. 

wild-poseyDuring the hike, one of the girls picked a posy of wildflowers to take back to the city with her.  Another, after crossing a cool stream decided, “I’m going camping.  This is way nicer than the city.”


Cory-lectureIn the Barn Studio, the young ladies, inspired by Cory’s northern paintings and documentary, (especially the one about him choking on clouds of mosquitos in the Arctic) sat down and created a ream of beautiful images for the DAREarts DARE2draw Card Program, which supports DAREarts kids programs in remote First Nation communities.

DARE2draw-Cory's-studioWhen the cards were finished, the girls went outside and sang a spirited rendition of “Summertime” with singer-songwriter Andie Trépanier before boarding the bus for home.  


Marilyn,-Marcia,-Cory,-DA-team-in-barnThank you, Marcia Brown and the Ladies on the Rise for the cards. Chi meegwetch, Cory, Janet, Andie and Sydney for your hospitality and teachings. It was an afternoon that will live on forever in your DARE2draw Cards, which will help offset the hard costs of delivering our programs to kids in remote First Nation communities.

If you’d like to purchase cards, please call us at 1-888-540-2787 or info@darearts.com.


DAREarts=Discipline Action Responsibility Excellence!

Canadian Charitable No 88691 7764 RR0002


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DAREarts Building Bridges

One Class at a Time

It was a smaller class today. Only seventeen kids. Grades four/five. We started with a discussion about Canada’s north. What kinds of impressions do southern kids have about that distant region? Up shoot the hands. Inukshuk. Arctic wolves. Whales. Sled dogs.

Orangeville students drawing

Who lives up there? What else is up there? One kids said, “Cities.” Well, maybe in Russia… “Villages.” Closer. What is life like for kids their age? Where do they get their food?

The questions raise more questions, and most of them are correct. A lot of credit must go to their teacher, Elizabeth Scott, who taught in Kasheshewan for three years in the late 80’s. She brought back with her a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the kinds of conditions the kids up there live and learn in.

I pulled out my guitar and sang for them a song that had been written by students their age in my home territory, Indian Brook First Nation, Nova Scotia. (our official name is now, Sipekne’katik – Ground nut/wild potato land – I’m still trying to learn how to pronounce it.) The song is about Courage, one of the 7 Sacred Teachings. “Melkikno’ti” is a universally themed song that the Indian Brook kids made a video for this past June. It’s up on YouTube, along with a karaoke version of the song.

The kids, once they started drawing their icebergs asked me to sing the song again.  This time around, they started singing along. I couldn’t believe it.  The third time around, I heard more voices and looked at Ms. Scott. We had the idea at the same time.  The students from Princess Elizabeth Public School will learn Melkikno’ti. Who knows? Maybe they’ll record their own version as an answer to the LSK children challenge to “Pass the Torch” of courage.

Thank you, Princess Elizabeth P.S. for your beautiful cards and voices on behalf of Canadian Aboriginal students and teachers!

Carson Fink13 sm

Thousands of Canadian children are helping children when they DARE2draw original DAREarts cards! By learning about the unique challenges faced by Aboriginal children in remote communities, young people are opening their hearts to DARE2draw ATTENTION and make a difference.

You can support kids helping kids by buying their one-of-a-kind cards! Suitable for all occasions. Proceeds will be directed towards DAREarts First Roots program to help Aboriginal youth across Canada create a positive future for themselves, their communities and their country.

To order by phone, please call DAREarts at 1-888-540-ARTS (2787).

Don’t forget, you can order box sets of our beautiful cards by going to DARE2draw

And if you’re in the Orangeville area, you can find them at The Orangeville Theatre Upper Level during performances. BookLore, 121 First Street ON L9W 3J8 (519)942-3830

The Alton Mill 1402 Queen St RR 1, Alton, ON L7K 0C3, (519)941-9300

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Journeying to the Arctic as we DARE2draw with Cory Trépanier!

Cory & Student

Cory Trépanier offers some artistic insight to a student as she creates her DAREarts card. Image courtesy Cory Trépanier.

Over a hundred students at Palgrave Public School sat attentive in the school’s gymnasium at the start of the day on Tuesday, October 15th, the first day back after the Thanksgiving weekend. Surrounded by camera equipment and floodlights, the kids were abuzz with excitement as world-renowned local artist Cory Trépanier and DAREarts Founder & President Marilyn Field were introduced by Principal Laurie Johnson.

DAREarts Founder and President, Marilyn Field, explains how the DARE2draw program helps Aboriginal youth in remote communities.

DAREarts Founder and President, Marilyn Field, explains how the DARE2draw program helps Aboriginal youth in remote communities.

As Marilyn took the stage to introduce the DARE2draw program, smiling images of the youth of Webequie First Nation flashed across the screen behind her. She spoke to the students about how these youth are facing challenges beyond anything most Greater Toronto Area families have encountered: marginalization, extreme poverty, a lack of available schooling, minimal access to healthcare, and very limited opportunities. The lack of hope in these communities is endemic. Marilyn’s voice is somber, but she quickly changes the tone when she turns to the students and tells them, “YOU are capable of making a difference for these kids who are just like you.” The students would be making DAREarts cards – cards that are sold to raise money for the DAREarts First Roots program, where we work with remote communities to use the arts to empower youth on their journey to becoming confident, hope-filled leaders. Also, the presentation was being filmed as a template for other schools across Canada interested in the DARE2draw project.

Cory Trépanier brings a taste of the Arctic to the students at Palgrave PS. Photo courtesy Cory Trépanier.

Cory Trépanier brings a taste of the Arctic to the students at Palgrave PS. Photo courtesy Cory Trépanier.

Cory Trépanier then took the stage, bringing a dose of the Arctic with him as his presentation showcased video footage and photographs of his journeys into Canada’s breathtaking north, Into the Arctic and TrueWild. The presentation allowed students to follow Cory’s travels to national parks and communities as far north as Ellesmere Island, just a short (800km) trek from the North Pole. His warmth and enthusiasm was infectious; the Arctic didn’t seem all that cold, after all. None of the students were looking away – a hundred sets of eyes and ears were locked in as Cory told tales of arctic wolf encounters, polar bears, the vastness of Canada, and of course, Icebergs.

“Our students were spellbound by Cory’s images and stories of his travels as a northern artist. Such a rare and great opportunity for them to get up close and spend time with a Canadian artist and participate in the work that DAREarts does.”  Wendy Wilson, Art Teacher, Palgrave PS

The students were proud of their icebergs, and eager to pick Cory's brain for critiques! Image courtesy Cory Trépanier.

The students were proud of their icebergs, and eager to pick Cory’s brain for critiques! Image courtesy Cory Trépanier.

A DARE was put out to the students: We want to see your icebergs! From there, a whirlwind of drafting began, pencils to paper, smiles, and laughter.

“Your’s looks like a rhinoceros!”

“Mine looks like a floating mountain!”

“I don’t know what mine is yet…”

“Mine is finally… An iceberg!”

"Just adding in the final touches! Does anyone have more blue pencil crayons?" Image courtesy Lisa Norton.

“Just adding in the final touches! Does anyone have more blue pencil crayons?” Image courtesy Lisa Norton.

Not all of the students were practiced young artists, but for what they lacked in skill, they made up for tenfold in heart. They were drawing for kids that are just like them, reaching out to show that they care and that they want our students in the north to have all the hope and courage in the world, and that they are thinking of them.

DAREarts would like to extend very heartfelt thank yous to Cory, his incredible wife Janet, videographer Rick Boston, the staff at Palgrave Public School, and especially to the students for lending us their leadership and artistic talents!

To buy DAREarts cards and support kids helping kids, CLICK HERE.

To register your school for the DARE2draw program, please click here.

The video created from this session will be shared with other schools across Canada so they too can join the DARE2draw movement!
Call 1-888-540-2787 to sign up!

Post written by Lisa Norton, DAREarts Program Coordinator. For program inquiries, please email Lisa Norton. For media inquiries, please email Cathy Elliott, Director of Communications. 

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Check out the great cards!

The children in the Ontario Headwaters Region have once again outdone themselves in creating beautiful seasonal cards. 

Shruthi age 10
Jiulia age 12
Purvi age 9
Since 2002, children in the DARE2draw program are DARED to create original DAREarts cards in their schools, to draw attention to serious issues affecting children. The kids choose their medium – from paint, pencil crayons, and pastels to a variety of other mediums. The proceeds from the sale of the children’s cards will help Aboriginal youth across Canada create a positive future for themselves, their communities and their country.

The cards are available to purchase from the DAREarts website or at the Orangeville Theatre during their performance running from November 29 to December 23.

Also, take a moment to check out the video from the Mayfield Secondary School students talking about their DARE2draw cards.

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DARE2draw Card Program Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

For its tenth anniversary, many Canadian schools are daring to draw by creating their own unique greeting cards to sell for $5. Annually, over 3000 local children in the area participate in the program as part of the Headwaters Arts Festival. Through their art, children and youth take on responsibility as caring Canadians by helping children in remote Canadian First Nation communities. 
DAREarts works extensively with Canadian First Nation communities including Webequie, Marten Falls, Attawapiskat, and Shubenacadie to empower children to build their courage, confidence and leadership skills to meet life’s challenges. 

Annelisa, Brampton
DAREarts subsidizes the costs of having a local artist work with the children in several schools, exposing them to local talent and professional artists. By creating cards, children will DARE to draw attention to the unique challenges faced by our Canadian Aboriginal youth as they wage war on poor nutrition, poverty, isolation, substance abuse and teen suicide. Working together with communities will make a difference in the lives of children and youth.
The project is recommended for grades three and up. When schools participate, it teaches the children about citizenship as they see how their art can help others. It can also be used as a fundraiser for the school in addition to providing funds back to the DAREarts charity.

Yiming, age 12

The printed cards are also available for purchase through DAREarts. For more information, or to register your classes to participate in this remarkable life lesson please call 1-888-540-2787 or visit our website.