Posted in: Community Events, MDSS Announcements

WHEN: JUN 16 – JUL 21, 2022


Rita Winkler is a young woman with Down syndrome. She was born in Calgary, Alberta, and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario. Rita works in the Coffee Shed in New College at the University of Toronto, part of the Common Ground Cooperative, a social purpose enterprise. Rita also attends the DANI-Toronto day program. She is particularly proud of traveling to DANI and Coffee Shed independently, using public transit. Rita enjoys social media, listening to music, watching movies, writing newsletter articles, and being with friends and family in her free time.

The foundation for Rita’s art journey was laid by the excellent art program at DANI-Toronto. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rita joined a Zoom art class offered by L’Arche London, which introduced her to watercolours as a medium. Watercolours are now Rita’s primary medium, sometimes supplemented with ink and acrylic paint/pens. Rita’s mom, Helen, who previously had no training in art, is Rita’s art facilitator. She devises adaptive techniques to allow Rita to overcome disability-related barriers to the art creation process.

Rita, Helen, and her Uncle Mark Winkler from Kenora collaborated on a children’s book, My Art, My World, recently published by Second Story Press. It tells the story of Rita’s day-to-day life through her art and offers a message of inclusion. The book has brought Rita’s art to the attention of the greater community. The most common remark from the public about Rita’s art is that it makes them smile. This alone proves the benefit of sharing art created by people of all abilities with the world.

The exhibition of My Art, My World features 25 colourful watercolour paintings by Rita Winkler.  All pieces in the show come framed and are available to purchase from the artist with all proceeds from the sales being donated to the Kenora Association for Community Living.

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