Reading, writing — and reusing
ArtsJunktion MB Inc. is a community-based, charitable organization committed to redistributing reusable materials. Its continuing goals include hosting artists in residence and providing workshop space for artists, teachers, students and community groups. It also provides the community with display space for local art and projects made from reused items and educates visiting groups about environmental sustainability.
Co-founder and co-chair of the ArtsJunktion board Melanie Janzen explains, “You don’t have to be an art teacher or an artist to benefit from our warehouse full of materials. We support all teachers, community groups, and the creative community at large. We also encourage recycling, reusing, and reducing new purchases of ‘cheap stuff’ made overseas.”
A former early years teacher and a learning support specialist, Janzen is now associate professor in the Faculty of Education. Early on, she recognized that students learn in a variety of ways. “All teachers need stuff, and ArtsJunktion helps to support the multiliteracies of students by providing educators with materials to support visual communication for all classrooms.”
Janzen says that ArtsJunktion also plays an active role in teacher preparation. “We host Teacher Candidates from the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and Red River College. We provide these future educators with an experience that helps to inform and demonstrate that visual language is an important aspect of human development and how we can support them in their classrooms.”
In addition, ArtsJunktion employs Manitoba Artists who work with teachers and offer workshops. Janzen notes: “Our artists are paid artist wages recommended by the Manitoba Arts Council. Some of these teachers work for extended periods in schools with teachers and their students. It’s a fantastic experience for everyone involved.”
ArtsJunktion operates largely on fundraising and grants.
Melanie Janzen is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba and the Director of the School Experiences Office. In her role as the Director of School Experiences, she is responsible for facilitating and coordinating the practicum placement of over 500 teacher candidates in schools each year, including providing placement opportunities in Northern Manitoba schools. Her research interests and areas of expertise include Teacher Education, Teacher Identity, Early Years Education, and Curriculum Studies.