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#OttawaArts: The Young Artists of Sunnyside Ave. 

October 27, 2023

At the Ottawa Art Gallery, we believe art and culture are essential parts of belonging and are the building blocks for the society we want.  That’s why the OAG strives to tell the story of our community’s evolution through art and help to create a positive vision for our city’s future.  We are constantly inspired by the stories of art and artists in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and want to continue to share these stories and be a cultural anchor in our community. 

In this feature of #OttawaArts, we are bringing you the story of the Young Artists of Sunnyside Ave. 

The Young Artists of Sunnyside Ave. are a group of kids who all live on the same intersection in the Sunnyside area of Ottawa, hanging out together every day after school.  Naturally, one day they grew restless and needed something fun to do as a group and art was a natural activity for them.   

From here came the idea of ‘Art for Free’. 

“We play together almost every day after school. And there was this one day where we decided to do some artwork. And we brought out some markers and pieces of paper and crayons and stuff. And we started drawing art,” said Maddy. “Everybody drew what they felt like. Some people drew people. Some people drew landscapes. That was basically it. Then we decided that we should give it out for free to people walking by.” 

This kid-lead project grew into an “Art for Free” art show.  To get the word out, they created posters and posted them around their block.  People from the community were invited to come to the Art Show and take their favourite pieces home.   

These creative kids love everything about art.  They love making something to be proud of.  They love seeing the looks on peoples’ faces when they see their art.  They also love being able to experiment with drawing and create different things.  Most of all, they love the impact that art can make on their community.  The kids noticed that people in their neighbourhood were so excited for the Art Show that some families returned for their second piece of art.   

The Art for Free art show caught the eye of the Ottawa Art Gallery and after seeing the love these young artists have for art and their community, the OAG invited the group and their parents to a day at the gallery.  The group was treated to an art workshop in the Studio, a scavenger hunt around the Norman Takeuchi exhibition, and a private tour of the vault with OAG Senior Curator Rachelle Dickenson.  

What’s next on their list of creative projects?  After their visit to the OAG, the group is experimenting with making paper airplanes, snowflakes, and fans.  This paper-focused artwork will be their inspiration for their next Art for Free art show.   

Thank you to the Young Artists of Sunnyside Ave. for visiting the Ottawa Art Gallery and for being such positive contributors to their community! 

Stay tuned for the next #OttawaArts feature. 


OAG is Open from 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday | from 10 AM to 9 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission is always FREE.