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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Exploring arts and culture through the lens of moving to Canada

New Westminster's Massey Theatre launches art program for Syrian children

New Westminster’s Massey Theatre will begin offering an arts program for Syrian children, designed to explore arts and culture through the lens of moving to Canada.

“It is so important that these children are provided an outlet to explore their past experiences as well as their dreams for the future,” says Massey Theatre Society’s executive director, Jessica Schneider, in a press release. “I hope the program will serve to say welcome to our cultural community to these families and to provide a vehicle to introduce the children to their peers through their creativity.”

The program will offer arts classes in visual arts, storytelling, dance and music twice a week through the winter. The program will culminate with a celebration of Syrian Canadian culture in the spring of 2017. 

The program will be delivered in a partnership between MOSAIC‘s Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) program and the New Westminster school district. 

One of the largest of its kind in Canada, MOSAIC provides immigrants and refugees with settlement and integration assistance. The organization’s SWIS program helps newcomer students and their families to adapt and integrate to Canadian life and education during their initial years in Canada.

The classes will be led by Syrian art instructor and teacher, Fadella Louis, who arrived in Canada just nine months ago as a refugee herself.

“Fadella is an ideal candidate for instructing this program,” says Schneider. “She has done this work in Homs [Syria] and Jordan in the past and I am pleased to provide her an opportunity to bring her skills to this program. It is an important opportunity to enable Fadella to do what she does best as she settles into her new Canadian life.”

Classes will take place twice a week at the Massey Theatre beginning December 13. The classes are free and food will be provided. Interested participants can register through MOSAIC’s SWIS program by calling Ghada/Shabnam at 604-307-3392 or by email

The program continues to look for volunteers. For more information on volunteer opportunities call Jessica Schneider at the Massey Theatre at 604-517-5900 or by email

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