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September 13, 2013

The Giving Trees of Haida Gwaii: A Closer Look at an Artist in the Classroom Residency

The Giving Trees of Haida Gwaii: A Closer Look at an Artist in t

“For me, art is the central area that I build all my other teaching out of. All subjects can be taught through that base. In fact, it doesn’t even belong as its own subject: it is part of everything.”
—Sheila Karrow, Teacher, Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary, Haida Gwaii
This year, ArtStarts was fortunate to be able to visit Haida Gwaii and document an artist residency project. What we discovered was a remarkable collaboration between educators, artists and community members to bring learning alive through arts based experiences.

Watch our film about The Giving Trees of Haida Gwaii:

Feeling inspired?

If you're a teacher, why not bring an artist into your own classroom for a unique arts based experience?

Here are two ways to get started:

1. Find an Artist to Collaborate With

Over 40 new artists have just been added to the Artists in the Classroom Directory (AICD). The AICD provides a list of practicing professional artists working in a variety of disciplines who have proven experience at delivering arts integrated projects with young people in a classroom setting. Search the directory by artist name, discipline or region to find an artist to collaborate with to develop arts based experiences for your students.

2. Apply for Funding to Support an Artist Residency in Your Classroom
October 4, 2013 is the next deadine to apply for Artists in the Classroom funding. These grants support projects that put students in direct contact with a professional artist in residence in their classroom and aims to connect an art form and another subject area to meet evolving objectives in both. Learn more about the grant and download an application form at


Here are a few 'behind the scenes' photos from filming The Giving Trees of Haida Gwaii. It was an amazing experience to visit this part of the province and have the opportunity to connect with the remarkable people and landscape that make Haida Gwaii what it is. Thank you to the staff and students at Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary for their warmth and hospitality, and thank you to BC Arts Council and the Province of BC for their continued support.

A student shares the book that the artist created to document the artist residency experience.


Setting up the artwork and the camera.


ArtStarts staff Navida and Juliana hang the felted panels in the forest.


Juliana always looks for the perfect shot.


Students hike into the forest to see their art pieces in the setting that inspired them.

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