Fine Arts Activities

Explore your creative side at the Shadbolt

The study of fine arts in all forms helps us make sense of the world we live in through unique and creative learning opportunities at any age.

At the Shadbolt, our activities are designed to develop your artistic creativity and skills. Our instructors are renowned artists and skilled specialists who create curriculum that is geared to a variety of ages and abilities.

Fine arts at the Shadbolt


The only limit to clay as a medium is your imagination–and the size of the kilns! Discover how craft and art meet by getting your hands muddy in a variety of pottery classes for all ages and skill levels. More advanced students can participate in alternative workshops and firings such as crystalline, raku, wood, and soda firings to achieve unique surfaces and textures on their ceramic pieces.

Learn more about the wood-firing process in this video.

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Please note: registration for open workshops is changing in winter to in-person and by phone only. Learn more about open workshops below.

Kiln rentals

The Shadbolt Centre has an unrivaled diversity of kilns on site–including our state-of-the-art Blaauw gas kiln, raku and sawdust kilns, a wood fired train kiln (Engine #13), a soda kiln (The Vault), and several electric kilns. We are pleased to offer our kilns for rent when available. Please check our kiln rentals page for more information.

Questions and answers

Activity and open workshop participants must purchase clay from the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts through the front office. Please do not bring clay from another studio or other supplier. All clay sold at the Shadbolt Centre is cone 10 stoneware or porcelain. Clay prices include a charge for glazing and firing. Pricing can be found here: 

Clay is included in the registration fee for all activities for children and youth (4-18 yrs).

For a list of approved clays for kiln rentals and alternative firing workshops (wood, soda, raku, sawdust), please contact the Ceramics Technician at 604-205-3042 or email [email protected].

Activity and open workshop participants must bring their own tool kits, including brushes. The studio has bats, ware boards, rolling pins, banding wheels, scales, molds, chucks, stamps and texture tools for use in the classrooms. 

Beginner Toolkits are available for purchase at the Shadbolt Centre front office, and additional tools can be purchased through the Art Supply Store

The Shadbolt provides tools for all activities for children and youth (4-18 yrs).

Open workshops are scheduled 5 times per week during the fall, winter and spring sessions. Registration for each week of workshop sessions opens on Mondays at 10 am (for Burnaby residents and non-residents) for the following week beginning Monday. As of winter 2024, registration will be in-person and by phone only. Individuals are limited to registering for two open workshop sessions per week. There are no drop-in spaces available. Open workshops are self-directed and there is no instructor, but a ceramics technician is available to answer technical questions. Open workshops are not suitable for absolute beginners (some clay experience is required). Participants who are currently enrolled in another ceramic arts activity may register through the Shadbolt Centre front office to receive a 10% discount.

To ensure fair and reasonable access to studios and alternative firing opportunities, some ceramics activities at the Shadbolt Centre have their own withdraw deadlines, after which no refund is available. These are exceptions to the general cancellation and refund guidelines and are noted in the activity descriptions.

For open workshops, refunds are only available up to 24 hours before the start of class.

Alternative firings have their own deadlines to withdraw, after which no refund is available.
Wood: One month before the firing date
Soda: 2 weeks before the glazing date
Raku: 2 weeks before the day

For special workshops or guest workshops, refunds are available up to 48 hours before the start of class.

Bisque and glaze firing deadlines will be posted on the studio calendar. The bisque deadline is the second-to-last class, or the second-to-last week of open workshops. For the bisque deadline, all work must be moved from the damp room to the greenware carts in the Kiln Shed. For the glaze deadline, all work must be glazed and placed on the glaze shelf in the Kiln Shed. Items left behind at the end of each session will be disposed of.


The Shadbolt Centre Dance Programs teach dance as an art form. The process of creating is as important as skill development. Our programs are taught in a supportive and non-competitive environment that fosters creativity, diversity, individuality and collaborative ensemble.

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The Shadbolt Modern Dance program focuses on developing improvisational skills and technique. Modern dance is distinguished by its use of expression, exploration and movement invention, working with live musical accompaniment.

The Shadbolt Ballet program follows the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus with a focus on dynamic alignment and technique to develop full body integration working with live musical accompaniment. (Please note: we do not do formal examinations)

The Shadbolt Tap program focuses on rhythm tap. Students explore rhythm tap while developing coordination and musicality working with live accompaniment. 

There are many styles of Jazz dance, each one of our instructors bring their own personal experience with the focus on developing technique, rhythm and musicality.

Shadbolt’s dance company’s focus on modern dance composition and performance. Dancers are introduced to ideas, purpose and appreciation of dance as an expressive art form. Release-based contemporary techniques and improvisation are integrated into class to support dancing with intention and personal expression in a supportive and non-competitive environment.

December 9, 2023
2 pm   

Youth in Motion & Continuum dance companies
Tickets: $15

December 16, 2023
2 pm
Nutcracker excerpts
Students of the Long-term Dance program
Tickets: $15
March 9, 2024
7:30 pm
Youth In Motion dance company
Tickets: $15
March 16, 2024
7:30 pm
Shared Ground
Continuum dance company
Tickets: $15
April 27, 2024
11 am
International Dance Day
Tickets: Free
May 11, 2024
7:30 pm
Here & Now
Continuum dance company
Tickets: $15
June 7 and 8, 2024
7:30 pm    

New Expressions
Youth In Motion dance company
Tickets: $15

Creative writing

We are made of stories, not atoms. - Muriel Rukeyser

Creative writing programs help young writers learn to explore imagination and play with language and sound. Children and teens are supported to invent and explore different forms and consider their place in the evolution of language art. Our adult programs invite reflection and experimentation in a range of circles that support sustaining practices and communities of practice.

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Media arts

Are you looking to dive into the digital deep end? Whether you’re an aspiring animator, music producer, video editor or just plain curious, the Shadbolt Centre’s Media Arts Lab has what you need to bring your ideas to life. Come learn to create in software like Ableton Live, ToonBoom, Dragonframe and the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite with the help of expert instructors and quality equipment. 

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Find your muse in the Shadbolt Centre’s music program where amazing things happen. Learn to play an instrument with one of our talented instructors, take a vocal lesson or try out an ensemble class. Enroll your teen in Drum Set Basics and then if you want, enroll yourself in a class–there’s something at the Shadbolt Centre for every age and ability level.

View the complete listing of private music lessons

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2024 music recital dates:

  • Sunday, June 2, Studio 103
  • Sunday, June 9, Studio 103

Theatre and film

Dramatic arts helps us tap into our imagination and the world around us at any age–especially preschoolers, children and teens who are just beginning their theatre arts training. Adults too–you’ll be surprised to discover how your confidence and ability to think on your feet grows as you practice lines and monologues, move your body and stretch your vocal range.

All of our theatre arts programs are adapted to the age and abilities of our students in classes that range from preschool to adults.

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This learning experience takes our students through the process of producing a show–from the beginning idea right through to the fully staged public performance. Students don’t need previous experience–in this course you’ll work together to learn all the steps involved in creating live theatre.

Our students rehearse short musical numbers and acting sketches for a musical revue that shows the dance, singing and acting skills they’ve learned.

An original story created by the ensemble class is rehearsed and staged for a live audience. Off stage, the class learns about staging, lighting and how to use new media (like livestreaming video onstage) to make a good stage production great.

Learning speech arts gives us the skills and the confidence to communicate clearly in all kinds of speaking situations. In this course, our students receive voice training and they learn dramatic techniques and movement to give their words more impact in a performance, a debate or a speech.

This unique program doesn’t follow set lesson plans. Instead, it’s geared to the learning needs of the class. We introduce inspiring projects that show our students how they can stand up and be heard.

Speech Arts is available in 60-minute group lessons (maximum 6 students) and 30-minute private lessons. It’s also available as an online program.

Each season, we offer special workshops and programs in arts like puppetry, mask, monologue and improvisation. Our summer session includes week-long workshops.

Visual arts

Art-making allows us to express our inner experience of life. Shadbolt Visual Arts Programs for preschoolers, families, children, teens and adults are taught by professional artist/instructors who welcome you to art-making in a friendly and inclusive setting. Instructors encourage you to experiment, to find joy and fulfillment whether you are a beginner or an advanced student. Explore materials and techniques in a wide variety of mediums, build skills, take risks and develop your creativity in your own unique way.​

Children and teens learn to visually express themselves in a fun, non-competitive environment, increasing confidence and independence in other areas of learning and life.

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Specialty 1 or 2 day workshops are offered each session with Shadbolt and guest artists/instructors.  These workshops allow our clients to expand their horizons with unique intensive art experiences. Please check our seasonal program guide for detailed information. 

Allow yourself the time and space to create in our large art studios! Bring your enthusiasm, ideas and supplies to work independently on your own art projects in the company of other practicing artists (no staff support included).

Community programs

Shadbolt in Your Community offers satellite fine arts programs in SD41 elementary schools, community centres and at Burnaby community events; providing opportunities to sample multi-discipline programs at a more accessible cost. These programs are inclusive, support freedom of expression and give students the experience of working with arts specialists in a creative learning environment that supports community growth. Involvement in the arts fosters important skills developed through imagination; critical thinking, problem solving, social and emotional skills, self-confidence, self-discipline and verbal and non-verbal communication.

Contact us

Coordinator – Fine Arts
Tanya Rankin
Phone: 604-205-3002
Email: [email protected]
Fine and Performing Arts Programmer – Ceramics
Brit Bachmann
Phone: 604-205-3012
Email: [email protected]
Fine & Performing Arts Programmer – Community
Lia Miller
Phone: 604-205-3013
Email: [email protected]
Fine & Performing Arts Programmer – Dance
Jeannine Miller
Phone: 604-205-3037
Email: [email protected]
Fine & Performing Arts Programmer – Creative Writing, Theatre and Film
Joel DeStefano
Phone: 604-205-3015
Email: [email protected]
Fine and Performing Arts Programmer – Media Arts and Music
Ryan Clough-Carroll
Phone: 604-205-3011
Email: [email protected]
Fine & Performing Arts Programmer – Visual Arts
Marianne Otterstrom
Phone: 604-205-3014
Email: [email protected]

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