Our Story

Create Art Studio is a welcoming community art school in Toronto that encourages positive development through creative exploration. We support all of our students in building their confidence, creativity and cognitive abilities by inspiring them to embrace critical thinking and creative presentation of their work.

Our faculty are professionally trained artists and educators who provide a fun, safe and caring environment to facilitate positive learning in creative skill development, problem solving, and mental focus.

Create Art Studio was started by local mom, Jennifer Thompson, who wanted to start a business that would allow her to spend more time with her young children. In early 2017, she put her idea into motion – bringing her vision for an inclusive and welcoming space for children, teens, and adults to gather and learn, about art and themselves, in the vibrant community of Danforth East.

Meet our team of artists, educators, and customer service professionals that bring the best in art education to kids, teens and adults in Toronto:

Jennifer Thompson

Founder and CEO

Jennifer comes from two families of artists (one of her great-grandfathers was a famous Toronto sculptor) and has always lived a creative life, making pretty cover pages for her university statistics assignments.

She had been working in the corporate world as a marketing and analytics executive, until she realized it wasn't her true passion. One day, a light bulb went off and the idea for Create Art Studio was born. Or, she made a spreadsheet of all her ideas and ranked each one and Create Art Studio came out on top. If you know her, you'll know which is the right story.

Audrey P

Studio Admin

If you've called or emailed the studio, Audrey is most likely the one who helped you out. She's also the one who knows where everything and everyone is or should be. Audrey is our glue, keeping the studio tidy, organized and running smoothly. No small feat to keep a bunch of artists organized!

Joanne Bell

Director of Education

Joanne is an experienced educator and practicing artist who works with painting, drawing and printmaking mediums. She also has experience in digital media and performance art.

Joanne has studied First Peoples, Canadian and European art history. She loves to give back to her community, helping to create The Danny’s Urban Fairy project and other initiatives at a local school. 

Joanne has a Bachelor of Education and Fine Arts (Visual) from the University of Saskatchewan and is a Member of the Ontario College of Teachers and the Saskatchewan Teaching Federation.

James Taylor

Senior Art Instructor

James has been making art since he was a baby. His sources of inspiration are the wonders of the world and childhood imagination. If he hadn't pursued painting, he would be a filmmaker or musician. His favourite artists are Van Gogh, Salvador Dali and Jacques Louis David. 

James believes everyone is already an artist and will give you plenty of encouragement to explore your creativity in his classes. 

Thomas Haskell

Senior Art Instructor – Ceramics and Pottery

Thomas has been making sculptures since he was a toddler, using any modelling material he could find: clay, Play-Doh or plasticine. He is inspired by nature, organic forms, oceans, and Caribbean artists. His favourite artists are Boscoe Holder, Peter Minshall and he has a special place in his heart for Frida Kahlo.

Thomas believes a creative hobby can greatly enhance other areas of your life. By giving some time to making something or even experiencing something creative is incredibly beneficial. He encourages those considering taking an art class to jump right in!

Claire M

Art Instructor

Claire is a very talented costume designer who has been making art for two decades in various forms. She is inspired by collaborative art, where an artist works with others to create something larger than one view.

If Claire was doing anything else, she'd probably be a food taster, especially cheese.  We're so happy she loves teaching fashion design, drawing, and our after school program.

Claire wants everyone to stop thinking about an art class and do it! It’s a great opportunity to focus and flow without the interruptions of everyday life.

Imani B

Art Instructor

Imani has been making art for 10 years and recently graduated from the Visual and Digital Arts program at Humber College. Her life experiences are the main source of her inspiration in her artistic practice.

If she has to choose, her favourite artists are Esther Luntadila and Agnes Cecile. Her favourite pastimes are doodling and listening to music.

Imani has a calm manner that keeps her students engaged and classroom vibe productive and peaceful.

Shelby Steip


Shelby has been making art her whole life. Her mom was very artistic and encouraged her creativity from a very young age. Shelby is our resident Disney Superfan and would love to visit all the Disney parks. Her favourite artists are Monet and all the artists at Create Art Studio.

She has bachelors degrees in Theatre Production and Education and is currently pursuing her Masters of Education in Social Justice Education. Shelby helps us with equality and inclusive approaches in our programs.

Shelby loves blogging, bullet journalling, photography, travelling and watching Disney movies, of course. Shelby thinks if an art class makes you happy, do it. It’s never too late to learn something new!  

Bella A

Art Instructor & Technician

Stuart Thompson

Senior Art Instructor

Echo Railton

Senior Art Instructor

Keelin L

Art Instructor

Claire W

Crafty Crafter