Jun 16 - Jul 23, 2022 Douglas family art centre

My Art, My World: Rita Winkler

Colourful watercolour painting by artist, Rita Winkler, of herself and her family dog titled "Andy and Me"

Rita Winkler, Andy and Me, watercolour on paper, 22.9 x 30.5 cm

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 28 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.




Book cover for My Art, My World by Rita Winkler.

My Art, My World by Rita Winkler

with Mark Winkler and Helen Winkler

Rita Winkler, a young woman living with Down syndrome, shows us the world as she sees it through her art: a place full of joy and colour.

Approaching her daily life with enthusiasm and humour, Rita rides public transit to her job working at a university coffee shop. She takes yoga and folk dance classes and enjoys drama and music at a day program, and she practices using sign language. In My Art, My World, Rita shows us her love for the world through her great passion: making beautiful and fun works of art.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to organizations that enhance the lives of people with developmental disabilities.


Available from the Douglas Family Art Centre boutique for $19.95 +HST.

As always, MUSE members save 10%.

Did you know?

Both the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Northwest Company operated on the Lake of the Woods, and would often sabotage each others equipment at portage sites.