About Us

What began as one, after-school art class taught from my home studio has grown into a thriving creative community for children, their parents and teachers. artKids developed out of my passion for the creative process and how best to reclaim it in adults and nurture it in young children.


All artKids lead Artists/Educators have current Working With Vulnerable People cards and First Aid certification. Find out more about our fabulous team below.

Our Artist Educators

Robyn Thurecht

Robyn believes everyone is creative - they just have to be given the time, the space and the encouragement to re-discover the joys of creating. Teaching art and art-related subjects over the past 15 years, Robyn founded artKids with a focus on building skills and confidence in creativity while insisting on the fun element at all times. She loves that there is no one 'right' way to draw. As a writer in a previous life, Robyn also encourages the children to develop the story behind what they draw on their page. She lives by the statement: "There are no flops in art, only flopportunities!"


Akka Ballenger

Akka Ballenger is an artist who loves mixing old and new, traditional and contemporary, digital and analogue. Akka has over 20 years’ experience in photography and alternate processes, including drawing, mixed media, printmaking and spoken words. After a successful Artist in Residence at Playing Fields Studios last year, Akka enjoys printmaking and writing poetry, in between raising two children of her own. She is passionate about making art accessible to everyone through community workshops and she volunteers her expertise to several local organisations and charities.


Emma Rantatalo

Emma just turned in her last essay to gain her Master of Arts from the University of  Turku, Finland. She has an eclectic background running workshops in a science park, as a guide at the museum of contemporary art and archaeology in Turku, as well as a primary and middle school teacher. Emma loves seeing kids enjoy themselves when they come up with their own creative ideas...like when she taught the 'Build your own influenza virus' workshop! Her goal is to encourage her students to believe in themselves and their art.

Louisa Giffard

Louisa Giffard is a Canberra-based artist with a Bachelor of Visual Art from ANU, majoring in print media and drawing. Louisa has attended three international artists’ residencies, and exhibited her work in several Canberra-region galleries. Currently, she develops repeating patterns for her own line of textiles. She loved attending art classes as a child and, as an adult, she is keen to pass on her love of art to children. Follow Louisa's art louisagiffard.wordpress.com

Jenna Poore

Before joining artKids, Jenna worked in ACT public schools, specialising in K-Yr 2. She discovered her love of art and took leave to study full time at the ANU. While completing her Fine Arts Degree in Drawing and Printmedia, she has been sharing her passion and skills with artKids students. 


Sophie Ryan

Sophie is a student at the ANU School of Art and Design studying Art History, Curatorship and Visual Arts. Practising abstract expressive painting, Sophie isn’t afraid to experiment with new materials. She encourages students to embrace their material, not to be afraid of it, and to ultimately approach art with a sense of freedom. She is passionate about all mediums and strives to see every child succeed in their in their own individual style.


Bridget Baskerville

Bridget is completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts - Drawing and Printmedia at ANU. She enjoys combining her love of colours and patterns with exploring different forms of printmaking including lithography, screen printing, relief printing and etching. Her love for art isn’t solely print based - she is also experienced in textile art. Bridget enjoys working with kids as a wonderful opportunity to be around people who share her art passion.


Rashmi Wijesinghe

Rashmi is currently studying expressive painting and art history at ANU, with a Masters in Education to follow. High school art class was always her favourite time where she could let her mind go free and explore her own style. Learning the captivating history of each art movement and the stories behind each artwork is something she enjoys sharing with the children. Rashmi is fascinated with young minds and their endless possibility to imagine and be creative. She loves encouraging and guiding children in their art, to keep that interest alive as they grow.

Debbie Paton

A local Canberra artist, Debbie has studied both Interior Design and Visual Arts. She has a love of colour and textiles, as well as birds, which she often combines in her art. She has been studying ceramics for the past four years and continues to explore Australian birds and animals. Debbie has had a solo exhibition as well as participating in numerous group exhibitions. She also volunteers as an art facilitator for Wellways Australia, teaching art and interior design to adults in O’Connor. Teaching children was a natural extension for her and she is loving working with our artKids.


Valentyna Crane

Valentyna Crane is a professional landscape painter following Contemporary Impressionism - a style that focuses on the effects of changing light and moving air. She received her professional training in the USSR, and holds a Masters Degree in Architecture and Landscape Design. Arriving in Canberra just three years ago, she fell in love with its beauty, capturing it in her paintings, and winning first prize in the Royal Canberra Art Show 2019. She loves teaching both children and adults..


Kiah Zeller

Kiah has recently completed her Year 12 Certificate with majors in Art, Media and Photography. She loves working with children and volunteered as a Scout leader, keeping the 5 - 7 year olds busy with arts-based activities and outdoor play. She’s a natural leader holding the role of School Vice Captain, and often was in the position of providing motivation and inspiration to her fellow students. She loves the opportunity of working with the children at artKids!

artKids - specialising in after school art classes for kids, school holiday art for kids and toddler and preschooler process art classes