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

Pixabay image
Surrey recovers 29,000 jobs it lost to pandemic

That’s according to Surrey Board of Trade’s fifth Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19

Delta City Hall. (James Smith photo)
Volunteers sought for City of Delta committees

Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 5

A memorial remains near the site of where South Surrey mechanic Paul Prestbakmo was killed in August 2019. (Tracy Holmes photo)
(James Smith photo)
North Delta crime beat, week of Jan. 11

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer in West Kootenay in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

An independent review is underway at the Royal BC Museum after employees called out systemic, individual racism at the institution. (Twitter/RBCM)
Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Formal investigation, survey and training launched at museum

In this May 23, 2012, file photo, an approximately 2-year-old female cougar runs away from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trap after being released northeast of Arlington, Wash. A cougar has attacked and severely mauled a man in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Mulligan/The Daily Herald via AP
Cougar euthanized in B.C. after severely mauling a man north of Vancouver

Whistler RCMP officers were first on the scene and shot and killed a cougar prowling nearby

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Most Read