Signature Studios


Each McMichael Signature Studio is a two-hour, process-oriented workshop led by professional art instructors and developed in collaboration with established Canadian artists. The programs are designed to foster creativity and develop manual skills, and to position the artistic process as a tool for personal and collective expression.

Fee: $12 per student

Please note that this two-hour studio booking does not include in-gallery viewing and/or the complimentary I ❤ McMichael mini-tour. If  three hours of programming are booked instead, it would include a one-hour lunch with the complimentary I ❤ McMichael mini-tour.

GRADES 1 – 3, 4 – 6

 Inspired by the Group of Seven’s legacy, this painting studio takes students from an initial compositional study to a final painting, all while discovering the modernist take on the landscape genre. Exploration of colour gradation and space is an important part of this process-oriented studio as students learn the tricks and tips for painting perspective, focal points, and working with a traditional Canadian palette.

Curriculum Connection: VA

GRADES 1 – 3, 4 – 6

Inspired by Joyce Wieland’s Water Quilt, students will create a collective artwork incorporating handmade stencils representing various plants and species from the McMichael’s fragile wetland environment. This studio invites students to explore the art of printmaking while addressing the impact of climate change on our immediate natural environment.

Curriculum Connections: VA, ST, SS, EE

GRADES 1 – 3, 4 – 6

Rooted in the visual language of the Anishinaabe School of Painting, this studio focuses on the rich tradition of Indigenous storytelling, highlighting the connection between the natural and spiritual world. Developed in collaboration with Don Chretien, an Ojibwe artist, designer and educator, this painting studio demonstrates how strongly Norval Morrisseau’s legacy continues to resonate within the contemporary artworld.

Curriculum Connections: VA, SS, EE

GRADES 1 – 3, 4 – 6, 7 – 8, 9 – 12 

Developed in collaboration with artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, author of the award-winning books RED: A Haida Manga and Flight of the Hummingbird: A Parable of the Environment, this studio covers the narrative and aesthetic function of the traditional Northwest Coast formline in combination with popular manga cartooning techniques.

Curriculum Connections: VA, SS, NS, CWS

#LandIsSacred, #WaterIsLife: PRINTMAKING STUDIO 
GRADES 7 – 8, 9 – 12

This thought-provoking studio was developed in collaboration with Michif artist Christi Belcourt. The importance of land and water is a reoccurring theme throughout Belcourt’s work and will be emphasized in this studio through discussion and creative response. Students are invited to contemplate the notion of environmentalism culminating in creative expression involving innovative printmaking techniques and handmade natural inks sourced through the Toronto Ink Company. The workshop comes full circle with students producing a final piece of art which they can choose to offer back to Mother Earth.

Curriculum Connections: VA, SS, NS, CWS, S, EE

GRADES 9 – 12 

Developed in close collaboration with John Hartman — an Ontario-based artist celebrated for his unique layered landscape paintings — this watercolour studio invites students to investigate the notion of a cultural landscape and to create their own personal response to the land while investigating its geography and history.

Curriculum Connections: VA, CWS

GRADES 9 – 12

Developed in collaboration with Toronto-based artist Stephen Andrews, this studio explores the visual coverage of conflicts with an emphasis on social media. Students will be asked to respond to the presented concepts and ideas with their own multimedia project. The program is designed to challenge students’ creativity and foster an understanding of the impact of photojournalism on our view of history.

Curriculum Connections: VA, MA, CWS


All Tours, Art-in-Action Workshops, and Signature Studios can be applied across various areas of the curriculum. Use the legend below to identify curriculum connections within each program to ensure all your expectations are met.

“Thank you so much for a wonderful and engaging visit with my grade 9 class. The connection to our Native Studies course was spot on and relevant! Students really enjoyed it and concerns became concrete for them. The video with Christi Belcourt was a great  connect… best workshop this year!”

Elena Caria, St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Grade 9.  Participated in Signature Studio: #LandIsSacred, #WaterIsLife:  Printmaking Studio