Tiggy’s At Crescent owner Jackie Neufeld conducts an art lesson, prior to COVID-19 restrictions, at her South Surrey art studio. (Contributed file photo)

Tiggy’s At Crescent owner Jackie Neufeld conducts an art lesson, prior to COVID-19 restrictions, at her South Surrey art studio. (Contributed file photo)

Crescent Beach art studio, viewed by some as a community centre, closes its doors after 26 years

COVID-19 was the ‘push’ that lead to the closure of Tiggy’s At Crescent

After teaching her students the skills of painting for 26 years, and building a studio that in some ways served as a community centre, Jackie Neufeld has permanently closed the doors of Tiggy’s At Crescent due to COVID-19.

Neufeld launched her studio in 1994 in Ocean Park before moving it, two years later, to its most-recent location at 12185 Beecher St. Throughout that time, Neufeld has been hosting group art lessons to classes of eight students. COVID-19 restrictions forced her to reduce her class size to four students, and she was no longer allowed to assist her students on a personal level.

“It just made it untenable. I just couldn’t go forward with it,” she told Peace Arch News Wednesday (Jan. 6).

While some of her students over the years have developed into professional artists in their own right, what Neufeld said she will miss most about her businesses is the people.

“That’s going to be the biggest thing I miss, for sure, is just the companionship, the friendship. Just all of the things that we exchanged in classes, tips and different life stories,” Neufeld said. “Every single class is an experience. In that way, I’ve had students tell me that it was better than therapy.”

While some students came for the art, others stayed for the friendships, she added.

“It became kind of a meeting place for a lot of people. A lot of people would come to the classes because, yes, they were improving their painting skills and making something great for their house, but also they were meeting lots of other people in the community and making a lot of friendships.”

One of the people who made life-long friendships through the studio, and agreed with the notion that it was, indeed, a place to meet others, was Zimbabwe Gecko Society founder Susan Janetti.

The Zimbabwe Gecko Society is a non-profit organization based in South Surrey that started as a response to horrendous circumstances facing orphaned children in Zimbabwe. The society raises money for Zimbabwe families by selling their hand-made crafts to South Surrey and White Rock residents.

Janetti has been a regular student, and now friend, of Neufeld since Tiggy’s first opened its doors in Ocean Park.

A mental health worker, Janetti first signed up for a class because she saw it as a productive way to relieve stress, she told PAN.

“I didn’t know anything about art at the time,” she said.

Janetti said the classes not only taught her art skills, but it allowed her to see things in a different light.

“When I opened my own practice again, I used some of her techniques of art to help students through chronic depression,” Janetti added.

She said that not only has Neufeld been a great supporter of the Zimbabwe society, but so have her other art students.

“What am I going to miss most? Just the camaraderie of the whole place. We’ve gotten followers in the Gecko Society from that, but it’s just the camaraderie. And also, in my field of mental health, I’ve got nowhere to refer people. And when I say that, I mean there’s art classes everywhere… but her class, I thought I could safely send people to knowing that they’d be nurtured,” Janetti said.

Janetti said that after Tiggy’s closed, Neufeld donated boxes of art supplies to her so that she could send them to Zimbabwe.

“So within a couple of months, the people in Zimbabwe will have new paints and brushes and all kinds of things to use. It’s huge because it gives them tools to make money with,” Janetti said.

Neufeld, meanwhile, plans to retire, sort of. She intends to continue offering some online instruction and hosting video classes. She will also keep her website up-to-date, she said.

One of the saddest aspects about closing the shop, she added, was the way in which it had to be done.

“I’ve been sort of contemplating retirement for about a year and I think COVID was just the push. I mean, I wouldn’t have closed it now, and I wouldn’t have closed it in this way. It was such a fizzle out… It was just, I couldn’t have a gathering of any sort with all of my faithful students. I couldn’t do anything to honour the end.”

When PAN made a suggestion that she could have a painters reunion once COVID-19 restrictions lift, she said the idea had already been pitched to her.

“That’s what my students say. Exactly. I have a feeling that will probably be in the future for sure,” she said, adding a special thanks to Ramona Yager, who helped her run the business for 24 years.

“She kept the studio and both students and me organized and on track,” Neufeld wrote.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Tiggy’s At Crescent owner Jackie Neufeld conducts an art lesson, prior to COVID-19 restrictions, at her South Surrey art studio. (Contributed file photo)

Tiggy’s At Crescent owner Jackie Neufeld conducts an art lesson, prior to COVID-19 restrictions, at her South Surrey art studio. (Contributed file photo)

Just Posted

The City of Surrey is currently working through the initial phase for a park that’ll be built at 72 Avenue and 191 Street in Clayton. (Image via City of Surrey)
New park to be built in Clayton Heights

City of Surrey asking for feedback from Clayton residents

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

Sources team members (left to right) Carrie Belanger, Abby Gemino, Tatiana Belyaeva, Yasmin de Joya-Pagal cheer during the 2020 Coldest Night of the Year event. This year’s event will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Sources photo)
White Rock’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser goes virtual

Annual walk raises funds for variety of Sources programs and services

A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

Members of the community participate in the 7th annual Coldest Night of the Year event Feb. 22, 2020. This year’s event will have a virtual aspect to it because of COVID, says organizer Courtenay van den Boogaard. (Photo Submitted: Amanda Grewall)
Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser to support Cloverdale Community Kitchen

Annual events raises funds to help homeless community

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Most Read