A twelve-week virtual critique group to launch your career though dedicated time, support, and feedback

Image by laura adai
Have you ever felt like this? 

You’re missing feedback and validation on the art you’re making

You’re lacking accountability and dragging your heels to your studio 

You’re overwhelmed by possibilities and not sure the next direction to take your art practice 

You’re looking for a supportive community of peers who are excited about making work

Us too. But we know we’re not alone, and you don't have to be either.




We met in our first semester of the University of Guelph's Studio Art program in 2012 and knew we'd found a friend for life.


After we graduated in 2016 we created The Gathered Gallery to support artists; it started as a blog featuring a different artist every week, and it has grown into a project with a digital artist residency, a virtual critique group, and professional development workshops.


Emily & Natalie have been providing kind, insightful, and positive feedback to artists since 2016 through arts writing, interviews, and studio visits. 


Our twelve-week Studio Mates programs create an environment for thoughtful, accessible feedback on your creative practice that will help launch you into your next phase as an artist. Each group is kept small with limited spots available, allowing each artist to have significant time, support, and dedicated feedback on a rotating weekly schedule. 

Written Feedback

The feedback process is completed independently on a "virtual crit wall" inside a dedicated Slack community.


Each artist will share, ask questions to the group, and receive honest, thoughtful and caring feedback from their fellow members and facilitator. There will also be opportunity to message and chat with your group members to grow your network and creative practices in a  collaborative environment. 

Online Group Exhibition

To conclude each Studio Mates session, members will be included in an online group exhibition hosted at This will provide an opportunity to share your art and celebrate your hard work.

Group Check Ins

Studio Mates will host four group video calls, through Zoom. These group meetings will be a friendly opportunity to set goals with intention and accountability, ask questions to other group members, and workshop your creative practice to take on new ideas and opportunities.


Above all, they will be a chance to build connections with other creatives and create feedback that is personal and meaningful.

Bonus Resources

Studio Mates members will also be given access to past and present Trade Secret workshop recordings as a bonus resource, which include topics such as grant writing, community building, arts writing, and artist residencies.

All feedback will be constructive and considerate, rooted in empowerment, encouragement, and honesty, and conversations will be moderated and visible to members and facilitators. No harsh or closed-minded words will be tolerated in this program, to allow each member to feel safe and free to share their work without hesitation. 

A Note on Critique

What does a virtual crit wall look like?

Slack channels that can be accessed anywhere, anytime!

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Create accountability 

Develop a strong artistic voice 

Provide support and insightful feedback 

Find next steps and opportunities 

Build community and connection 




Critique Group

In this program you'll receive feedback on your artwork, including applicable insights on colour, scale, concept, materials, etc., to offer new perspectives and breakthroughs in the studio. We will also meet as a group to align your career goals with your practice. 

Studio Mates
might not be for you if: 

-    You are looking for a quick fix to           become an overnight success 

-    You are not ready to 

     consider thoughtful feedback and

     implement real changes to your


-   You don't have a clear practice or   

    body of work to build upon

This program is right for you if:

-    You have at least two works (in progress or               complete) and are ready for feedback

-    You have questions about your art and/or                process

-    You are ready to flex your critique muscles              and give insight and thoughtful feedback to            your peers

-    You are working towards a goal that would             benefit from a new perspective 

-    You have limited time and require something          you can complete independently and on the go

-    You are looking to connect with other artists           experiencing the same thing as you 

-    You need accountability and support to                   boost your commitment to your art career

-    You are serious about your practice and ready         to invest in yourself 

-    You believe in community over competition           and are excited to help other artists rise

Looking for something short and sweet?

Join a one-week Studio Mates group starting January 15, 2021 


This program was a valuable experience as it brought together such a variety of artists. 

Emily, Natalie, and each artist brought different perspectives in terms of their life and practice. The program was a unifying effort to learn and grow from each other and better you own independent practice. Seeing and getting to know each other in a more intimate setting was really vulnerable and valuable. 

- Laura Vautour

If you're ready to show up and share your work with like-minded artists, join Studio Mates now!

Image by laura adai

We have implemented a subsidized payment option for those who self-identify as members of the BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities as well as those with disabilities and chronic pain to support artists facing barriers and statistically fewer opportunities in galleries, magazines, and institutions.


This payment option is available using the coupon code "VIRTUALCRITS". For more accessible pricing options please reach out at