New education Coordinator at Oxygen

Oxygen Art Centre welcomes Natasha Smith as Education Coordinator

 Oxygen Art Centre is thrilled to announce that Natasha Smith will be taking over the coordination of the arts education program for Children, Youth and Adults.  While this work was previously managed by the multi-hat wearing Executive Director, moving forward the goal is for the organization to have a more sustainable and diversified staffing profile through which to grow.   Natasha Smith may be new to this position but she enjoys a 14-year history with the Centre including being a founding member, and she will continue to teach her mixed media and print making courses while managing this program.


Smith, who has just finished programming the fall semester of Continuing Arts Education at Oxygen, is also enthusiastic about the new posting, “I am a self-defined teaching artist and arts administrator and I believe strongly in the importance of community arts education programing. Over the last 14 years I have been connected to Oxygen in a number of different capacities and I am very excited to be now coordinating its education programming. It’s an excellent line up this fall with three new instructors joining the experienced team and a wonderful variety of courses.”


According to Oxygen’s Executive Director Miriam Needoba, the arts education programming is an integral part of the Centre’s past, present and future.  Historically the organization was founded by a group of West Kootenay artists and educators who wanted to start an art school.  The Centre has evolved from these initial intentions to include year round interdisciplinary arts programming including exhibitions, artist residencies, literary presentations and performances; however the education program remains vital to the Centre’s very existence.


In order to be eligible for many grants the Centre must demonstrate a significant non-government funded revenue source.  The revenues collected from arts education tuition fees fulfill this requirement.  Funds received from successful grant applications enable the Centre to provide free access to the Exhibition and Presentation programming.  “Arts education at Oxygen is the foundation on which all other programming stands,” says Needoba whose belief in this importance of this programming first drew her to the Centre, “I am so grateful to Natasha for all her work helping us move this programming forward and am excited to see where she will take it next!”


In the words of Anita Levesque, co-founder of Oxygen’s art camps for kids, “Art is essential. It connects us and brings great joy to our lives. By making and creating, we become problem solvers, exercising both sides of our brains. It is a celebration of beauty, a mode to express what is deep within, and a tool to better understand our place in the world.”

Information about the upcoming fall semester can be found here:

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