Andy and Me by Rita Winkler

Rita Winkler — Artist-Influencer

Ferg Devins


In February 2021 I had written an original post related to my friend Rita Winkler. She has since generated some amazing works of art. In the summer of 2022, Rita travelled to Kenora with her mom and Uncle Mark where she displayed and sold her works at the Local MUSE. Generously, Rita made a donation to a local charity from the proceeds of her work — the Kenora Association for Community Living. She follows in the Winkler tradition of philanthropy and making a difference in her community

Meet Rita (Sourced from the MUSE in Kenora)

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 featured 28 colourful watercolour paintings by Rita Winkler. All pieces in the show came framed and were available to purchase from the artist with all proceeds from the sales being donated to the Kenora Association for Community Living.

Approaching her daily life with enthusiasm and a dry sense of humour, Rita rides public transit to her job working at a university coffee shop. She takes yoga and folk dance classes and enjoys art, drama, and music at a day program. When it’s time to celebrate holidays and the birthdays of those she loves, Rita likes to mark the occasions with paintings and handmade cards.

Follow / Find Rita

FOLLOW Rita on her promotional Facebook page at

You can also FOLLOW Rita on Instagram at

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Ferg Devins

Communications Strategist — connecting you with your community