WINNIPEG -- When Art City suspended in-person programming in November due to COVID-19 restrictions, the not-for-profit organization had to come up with innovative ways to stay connected to the West Broadway community.

Inspired by restaurants in the neighbourhood, Art City came up with a menu of items available for curbside pickup at their Broadway studio.

But instead of pizza and burgers, Art City’s menu contains 20 free art kits for community members of all ages to complete at home.

“It’s not simply a smattering of art supplies, but real, high impact art experiences that provide great opportunities for self-expression,” Art City’s managing director Josh Ruth said.

Art City has provided a community-oriented art space in the West Broadway neighbourhood for 23 years. Last week, the organization opened a temporary curbside pickup location on Sherbrook Street while their studio undergoes renovations.

Ruth says the most popular kits include traditional and contemporary Indigenous art activities, as well as “Build-a-Furry-Friend.” Each “BFF” kit includes an assortment of stuffed animal pieces and supplies, which allows participants to custom design their furry friend.

Ruth says many participants don’t have access to basic supplies like scissors and paint brushes, so the purpose of the art kits extends past a single-serving activity.

“We’re not just sending art supplies into homes,” Ruth explained. “We’re helping kids establish mini studios at home.”

Ruth says Art City is able to provide the free supplies through a combination of support from donors, sponsors and grants. He says Art City hopes to resume outdoor programming, like Art City Outside, as soon as the weather and public health orders permit.

Aspiring artists can pick up their free art kits on weekdays between 1 and 5 p.m. at Art City’s Sherbrook Street location.