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About Yulia and her team

Meet Yulia and her team!
Do you want to join us?

Yulia Balobanova

I have been teaching art since 2015 and my mission has always been to inspire people to create their own art, especially if they do not have any previous art experience. I truly believe that everyone can do art with the right guidance. And with simple materials that you probably already have in your home! 


I have been painting and drawing since childhood, and completed my professional art education at a reputable Design School in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I worked in interior design for many years, and also designed custom furniture for clients. Now, my passion is teaching art to children and adults and inspiring people to be creative. Art can be relaxing, help you express yourself, and you always learn something new. I am making art accessible to people so anyone can try their hand at painting, drawing, or sewing.   


I focus on creating a friendly, cozy and supportive atmosphere for my students and explain very simply how to draw or paint. Participants come away from the workshop or art class with a beautiful final picture. I’ve taught art classes to young children of 5-6 years old, to private groups of adults, and to seniors, who all enjoyed the experience!


I am a multimedia artist. I love learning new techniques for my own practice and for teaching my students. My favorite mediums for now - watercolor and watercolor pencils  which I can draw in my sketchbooks everywhere. I also love hand sewing, crochet, embroidery, sport, yoga and travelling.  I am inspired by nature and love to share this passion with you in the pictures we create. 

My family - husband, 3 children and 2 cats are my big love and support! 

Portrait of Yulia B smiling

Art instructor: Marien de Freitas

Hello, my name is Marien, your art instructor! I am currently in my second last year of my Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Waterloo with a major in Psychology. I plan to continue my education and eventually get my PhD in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Art Therapy. From as young as I can remember I grew up around art, both my parents were artists and shared their love of creativity with me and my siblings.  

As an art instructor, I intend to share the gift of art with students and foster a supportive and inclusive learning environment where students feel empowered to explore their creativity and express themselves freely. Through a personalized demonstration, I offer hands-on guidance while also allowing students to find their unique art style.  

Art is everywhere and for everyone and I believe that artists bring a special touch to the world. With a diverse background in various artistic mediums such as drawing, painting, sewing, and mixed media, I offer a well-rounded approach to my art education. My current artistic endeavor has been sewing soft body dolls with polymer heads for my family and friends.  

Growing up in rural Manitoba on a farm with my family of 11 I quickly learned to treasure the natural art that Mother Nature creates so effortlessly. Now my family and I reside in Waterloo. Through my work with Yulia, I look forward to bringing my rich life experiences into my work and getting to know the little artists of KW.


Hello, my name is Abby. Art has been a lifelong passion of mine, and I am very excited about the opportunity to share that passion with others. I believe that art should be accessible to all people.

I have been painting and drawing for as long as I can remember. I am currently in grade twelve at Bluevale Collegiate Institute, where I have taken a number of art related courses, such as Visual Arts, Clay and Glass, and Photography. After high school, I am looking to attend post secondary schooling for a degree in visual arts so that I can continue learning about my passion and developing my skills.

As an artist, my favourite mediums to work with are acrylic paints, pencils, and digital. However, I also have experience with watercolour paints, coloured pencils, pastels, and clay. Additionally, I also hold an interest in photography. People are typically the subjects of my work, as I foster a deep love for humanity and find myself inspired by those around me.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to work with Yulia. I am excited to help make art more accessible to my fellow community members and to see what new skills I will learn from this experience.


Abby Hiemstra

Co-op student / February - June, 2024

From my early childhood, every free moment was spent with a pencil in hand, sketching whatever caught my imagination. Growing up in a family where artistry and teaching were cherished traditions, my passion for drawing was nurtured from a young age.


My grandfather was a master of landscapes, capturing the world with oil paints. His works filled our home, inspiring me to explore my own artistic abilities. My aunt drew excellent portraits, which encouraged me too. My sisters, who also studied in art school, shared their artistic visions, adding diverse perspectives to our creative environment.


My formal education in art began at a children’s art school, where I laid the foundation for my skills. Hungry for more, I continued my studies through three intensive years of advanced courses. I had the honor of being taught by a master from the St. Petersburg Art Academy. Under his guidance, I improved my technique and deepened my understanding of the artistic process.


Art is a lifelong passion for me. I love visiting galleries and looking at the works of famous artists, always trying to notice interesting details from their paintings. I experiment with materials and techniques, from watercolors to digital art, embracing every challenge with enthusiasm.


Over the years, I created numerous works, gifting portraits to my friends and even to my favorite singers at their concerts. Art also helps me see the beauty in everyday life, be more attentive to details, and feel happy.


Today, as an artist with over 15 years of experience, I am excited to share my knowledge and passion with others. Teaching feels like a natural extension of my artistic journey. My goal is to inspire and guide students of all ages, helping them discover their own creative potential and craft unique masterpieces.


Vera Poletaeva

Art instructor

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