More than two decades ago, Wanda Koop, an internationally renowned artist, saw a need for accessible arts programming in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood. In 1998, she founded Art City, one of the first organizations of its kind in Canada. The idea: that community art programming should be accessible to all.

In 2006, Wanda Koop was made a Member of the Order of Canada in honour of her extraordinary contribution to Canadian art, and her dedication to community development through the arts.


We are not necessarily making artists, we are giving people the opportunity to think creatively, and my feeling is that if you can think creatively, you can survive almost anything. – Wanda Koop, Founder


To Dream, To Imagine, To Create. A Space For Art In Every Life.


Art City is a community art centre that offers high quality, free-of-charge art programming to those who need or wish to express themselves creatively.
Our mission is to create a positive and expanding cultural impact on the unique needs of the community by:

  • Fostering self-expression in participants, and encouraging a sense of ownership, self-respect, and pride in their work and community.
  • Being a part of the neighbourhood, a place that is safe, comfortable, and supportive.
  • Being accessible by offering free-of-charge, quality programming with local, national, and international professional artists.
  • Being sustainable and available to the community day after day, year after year.
  • Being a model for future community art centres.

Annual Report

Contains detailed information about Art City’s programs and our audited financial report prepared by accounting firm Meyer Norris Penny.

Wanda Koop, Founder & Honourary Chair

The American poet Charles Olson wrote that space is the whale that threatens to swallow up North Americans. Wanda Koop, one of Canada’s most accomplished painters, has turned that whale inside out; she has been consuming space for over four decades. In large-scale paintings and mixed-media events that incorporate video, music and dance, she has fashioned bodies of work that are beautiful, monumental and mesmerizing. An exhibition of her paintings is as much an environment as an installation.

Shirley Martens, Chair & Treasurer

Shirley has served on the board of Art City since 2004, and is currently chair of the Art City board.

Shirley created The Lab Works Inc., a premium photofinishing lab, with her husband in 1988 and sold the company in 2011. She owns and manages a commercial real estate property in Winnipeg and runs Blend Imports, a company that sources and imports South African wines to Manitoba.

Shirley also serves on the board of iDE Canada. iDE creates income and livelihood opportunities for poor, rural households in countries around the world. iDE’s model for development work—listen to people experiencing the problem and give them the tools they need to prosper. She has been a volunteer since 2012 and serves as chair of the fundraising and gala committees.

Elizabeth Schwersensky, Vice-Chair

Elizabeth joined the Art City board in 2015 and has enjoyed being a part of the Art City community ever since. The parade is a favourite every year! Outside of Art City, Elizabeth is a senior Human Resources professional. She has been working in HR since 2006, has attained her CPHR designation, and has primarily worked at non-profit organizations. Elizabeth believes that non-profits and community organizations are just a fit and are so important in our city. Work aside, Elizabeth loves spending time with her husband, kids, pets and friends. She enjoys a good puzzle, time outdoors, and especially dives into gardening whenever there isn't snow on the ground.

Diane Lafournaise, Secretary

Hello! I’ve been a part of Art City since the early 21st century. Back then I was a workshop facilitator and continued in this role for several years after that. I have a BFA, a BEd, and have served on the AC board for half a decade. Art City rocks!

Jacqueline Boily

Jacqueline s'est impliquée pour la première fois auprès d'Art City en tant qu'artiste invitée en 2009 et a eu l'honneur de rejoindre le conseil d'administration en 2019, où elle siège au comité de politique interne. Elle est avocate des droits de la personne et fière franco-manitobaine de Saint-Boniface. Son expérience personnelle et ses études lui ont appris que le système de justice pénale a un impact disproportionné sur les personnes marginalisées, en particulier les jeunes, et elle sait que la programmation d'Art City transforme la vie des participants pour le mieux.

Jacqueline first became involved with Art City as a guest artist in 2009 and was honoured to join the Board in 2019, where she serves on the Policy Committee. She is a human rights lawyer and proud franco-manitoban from Saint-Boniface. Her personal experience and studies have taught her that the criminal justice system disproportionately impacts marginalized people, particularly youth, and she knows Art City's programming transforms participants' lives for the better.

Tania Canas

Tania enjoys giving back to the Winnipeg community volunteering her time at different organizations within the city and is excited to be a Member of the Art City Board. She is grateful for the opportunity to contribute and be a part of Art City.

She has experience working with children as a childcare assistant at daycare centres throughout Winnipeg and has also taught and tutored children at schools in the Dominican Republic. Working with children of various ages has given her the privilege to see the endless bounds of creativity and perspectives that children express through art.

Tania has experience working in marketing, sales, analytics, and operations. Currently, she is completing her yoga teacher training and looks forward to sharing the beauty and benefits of yoga with people of all ages. In her spare time, Tania enjoys spending time with her daughter doing various activities or taking on new adventures.

Jen Kirkwood

Jen is a retired Art Educator, with over 30 years in the classroom; from Norway House to Manitou, and other stops in between, she spent most of those years teaching High School Art in the Winnipeg School Division.  Her biggest passion was running after-school programming with youth of all ages, whether that was painting murals in Rossville and beyond, or building sets for musicals, Jen has always worked to make Art inclusive to all.  Joining the Art City Board in 2010 has kept that passion alive!

Silantoi Kisoso

I am a mum to a perspicacious growing artist. I was born in the Rift Valley and have come to call the Winnipeg prairies home. I love art and its boundless forms. Art City has always given me a space to be me... in all my forms! I work in international food security.

Monique Lysak

Mother, wife, sister, late daughter, friend and community member. Educator, mentor, artist and collaborator. Passion for and dedication to the transformative power of artistic engagement in building human capacity and communities. Long-time member of the Art City community. First, as a mural facilitator in 1998 when Art City opened; then supervisor; 1st outreach instructor; photography instructor; Board Member.

I have had the privilege of witnessing Art City grow, expand, adjust, adapt, change peoples' lives and so much more while maintaining its inclusive grassroots feel and mission. More than words, thank you for this life-giving journey.

Sonia Prevost-Derbecker

Before joining Movember as the Global Director of Indigenous programs; Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Sonia Prevost-Derbecker served as the National Vice President of Education with Indspire, the largest non-profit Indigenous education organization in Canada.

She has held Director and CEO positions for organizations across the country including the first CEO of the newly created Indigenous Child Welfare System, All Nations Coordinated Responses Child and Family Services and Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad the largest Indigenous youth serving agency in Manitoba.

Sonia was the third elected Indigenous school trustee in the history of the Winnipeg School Division and has taken lead in the development of an Indigenous high school and a provincial integrated service delivery model insuring best outcomes for her community.

Sonia has be the author of several articles and research studies most recently The State of Equity in Education Report and has been the key note at several conferences and events.

Art City Staff 

Full-Time Staff

Eddie Ayoub, Artistic Director
Josh Ruth, Managing Director
Erica Jacobson, Outreach Programs Manager
Albyn Carias, Studio Programs Manager
Erin Josephson-Laidlaw, Office Administrator
Gabrielle Funk, Managerial Assistant
June, Office Dog

Special Programs Instructors

Natalie Baird, Film Photography
Margaret Glavina, Drawing Club
Elise Nadeau, Ceramics
Hanna Reimer, ARTsquad
Justin Bear, Indigenous Art & Digital Art
Talula Schlegel, Digital Art
Kiana Fontaine, Indigenous Art

Program Assistants (Youth Mentees)

Farkhonda Saberi
Shaniece Leask
Maia-Star Johnson

Food Services Coordinator

Cato Cormier

Workshop Facilitators

Mariana Muñoz Gomez
Ronaldo Perez
Sadie Lavioe
Albyn Carias
Brent Mitchell
Christina Hajjar
Euncho Ko
Francesca Carella Arfinengo
Gabrielle Funk
Hanna Reimer
Josh Ruth
Justin Bear
Kelly Campbell
Kiana Fontaine
Margaret Glavina
Marly Wesley
Posy Legge
Remi Olusoga
Sadaf Saberi
Sarah Michaelson
Talula Schlegel
Ted Barker
Toby Gillies 
Vanessa Eidse

Art City gratefully acknowledges the support of our
Funders and Donors!

Core Operational Funders
City of Winnipeg (Community Services)
Manitoba Arts Council (Urban Art Centres)
United Way Winnipeg
Graham C. Lount Familiy Foundation

Project Funders
City of Winnipeg - Community Incentives
Grant Program
Hometown & Urban Green Team (MB)
Neighbourhoods Alive! (MB)
Manitoba Arts Council
Canada Council for the Arts

Corporate Donors
Assiniboine Credit Union
Canada Life
CN Stronger Communities Fund
Wawanesa Insurance

Carolyn Sifton Foundation
Community Foundations of Canada
Fast Family Foundation
J and K Knowles Foundation
Richardson Foundation (Essential Needs Fund)
Siobhan Richardson Foundation
Souchay Gossen Foundation
Whitestone Foundation
W.H. & S.E. Loewen Foundation
Winnipeg Foundation
Youth in Philanthropy (Winnipeg Foundation)

︎ Thank you to our donors!︎

Each year, thousands of individuals and businesses who believe in the transformative power of art choose to support the work that Art City does. This giving has a huge impact! Art City is committed to stewardship integrity and each dollar helps us ignite more creativity in West Broadway and increasingly beyond.

Wanda Koop’s Art City Angels

Assembled in 2018 by Art City Founder Wanda Koop, The Angels are a group of super donors committed to multi-year support of Art City’s programming. We are endlessly grateful for these superheroes!

Bob & Cindy Newfield
Gail Asper Family Foundation
Hartley & Heather Richardson
John Martens & Emilie Lemay
Sheri Blake & Tadashi Orui
Shirley & Paul Martens
Susan Glass & Arni Thornsteinson
Thomas & Sarah Milroy
Anne-Marie Crépin