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Student art invades Grand Forks’ Gallery 2 for Art Attack

Art helps ‘build a community’ in schools

Elementary students from across the Boundary region put their creative sides on display in Gallery 2, showing off months of hard work learning about artistic expression.

The gallery’s Fogg Gallery room and outside grounds were abuzz with the Wednesday opening of the 13th annual Art Attack, with art pieces ranging from watercolours, to sculptures, ceramics, sketches and dolls put on display in a mosaic of mediums and themes. A total of 105 students in Grades Four to Seven from Christina Lake, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Beaverdell and Rock Creek all contributed to the region-spanning after-school program. Busloads of students in the program were brought to the gallery to meet the public, each other and enjoy a day on the gallery grounds in a celebration of their hard work.

The program, curated and organized by Rocio Graham, Carol Mitchell and Lena Bak, has one primary goal: celebrate creativity among the youth that are part of the program, said co-organizer Carol Mitchell.

“This is about taking risks, being creative and having fun,” she said. “We create art throughout the school year, then after Christmas we start storing up pieces for the show.”

Students work on their own pieces and have group projects as well. This teaches students how to work collectively on art, as well as their own pieces. They also learn about different mediums, like clay and ceramics, which they worked on with an instructor that helped them paint, glaze and fire their creations.

Mitchell said she was overwhelmed with joy and emotions while looking at the walls and tables full of a wide assortment of art, as well as the excitement students had to be part of the program.

“For me, this just blows me away,” she said. “Last year was fabulous, but this year was even better. I have a great team and we couldn’t pull off a show like this without them.”

The program started in 2011 with two schools, Hutton Elementary and Dr. D. A. Perley Elementary and it ran for one day in a classroom, said Mitchell. Since then, it’s expanded to Christina Lake Elementary, Greenwood Elementary and West Boundary Elementary, with Gallery 2 providing space.

“We’ve increased our programming and increased our directors, going as far as Rock Creek and kids from Beaverdell,” she said. “To have it in a real gallery space that honours their work and have it for a longer period of time means if their family can’t be here today to see it, they can come and see it. We also get to show with working artists in the community.”

The show runs until June 8.

These art projects weren’t just about art for art’s sake, it was teaching skills like teamwork and exposing children to arts that normally wouldn’t get the chance, said co-organizer Rocio Graham, who ran the program for Christina Lake.

Other programs like sports get a lot of attention, she said, but through Art Attack, they were getting students who didn’t think they had artistic talents working on projects and for many, revealing they had a creative side.

“We were getting kids that were really into sports working on art, as well as kids who may not be that into sports, but never tried art, working on projects and they were getting excited about it,” she said. “For me, art helps build a community and we had students that normally didn’t interact with each other working as a group on art projects.”


About the Author: Karen McKinley

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