HCA BuildingCulture for Kids in the Arts (CKA) is an organization dedicated to bringing the arts community-wide, creating accessibility so all children and youth have an opportunity to participate. The concept for CKA is driven by Vitek Wincza, Artistic Director of the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts (HCA). Through his own experiences he recognized that arts programs can motivate and inspire learning. Viteks’s passion to remove barriers for full access to the arts ignites this dream. From this dream he and his team design arts programs that would be inclusive regardless of talent, financial status or heritage.

Founded in 1999, in partnership with HCA, CKA has become recognized for its innovative arts programming for children and youth, as well as training and resources for practicing and emerging artists in our community. This partnership is key in insuring high quality art programming is being delivered through CKA to the greater community. Beginning as a project-based organization for many years, CKA is now fully operational, dedicating itself year-round to providing arts education everyday, everywhere, and for everyone.

To expand the reach of our programs and diversify our audiences CKA maintains ongoing partnerships with child-oriented service organizations, including the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Wesley Urban Ministries, Today’s Family and Mohawk’s City School at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre. These partnership have brought our programs to Ohsweken on the Six Nations Reserve, to newcomers, visible minorities, and children facing financial barriers. Partnerships with Resight Inclusive Arts and the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre bring innovative arts programming to children and youth with physical and developmental disabilities.

Community Partnerships are at the core of CKA’s programs and represent an essential component to the growth and sustainability of our organization. For example, two of CKA’s programs, Artasia and the After School Arts Program are offered in over 15 neighbourhood hubs throughout the Greater Hamilton Area, and provide arts education activities led by practicing artists and arts educators to over 1,000 young people annually.

In addition to partnerships, CKA has developed and implemented new models of arts engagement, apprenticeship and mentorship learning to expand our reach and encourage a deeper appreciation of the arts in our community.

Our well-balanced approach to program delivery, design, and growth, enhances employment opportunities for those aiming to work in the cultural sector. This can be best seen in our Artworks and Arts for All program. In 2012, CKA was awarded a multi-year funding grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation supporting ArtWorks a training program that enhanced career development opportunities for emerging artists. Arts for All, our successive Trillium project, creates professional development support and resources for artist and cross-sector professionals. Our goal is to address gaps in arts education, outreach, and engagement, and strengthen support for arts activities in our community.