The art students at Lake City Secondary Williams Lake Campus are all ready to host their annual end of winter semester LCSS Student Art Exhibition this Friday.
On Jan. 24 the students will be hosting an opening night from 5 to 8 p.m. for the general public to attend. In addition to over 100 art pieces from 75 lakecity students, a night of live music and artist demonstrations by students have been prepared, with free admission for everyone.
The show is made up of works created by the students of Siobhan Wright, who said it’s the culmination of the work of her students in Grade 10, Grade 11 and Grade 12. Three classes contributed to the show including the photography class, the drawing and painting class and the arts foundation class and is made up largely of two-dimensional pieces, although Wright said they do also have some pottery and sculpture pieces.
“The purpose of this show is to give the kids a chance to see what it’s like to have their work (displayed) in a more professional setting,” Wright said.
Another thing she said they’ve found valuable is learning how to properly mount and hang artwork, which has been a huge learning curve for her students. Wright said it takes them about four days to mat and frame the work properly and another two days to attach name tags and hang the work, rearranging frequently to find what order works and best fills the negative space. She likens the process to making one big mural in the school’s commons with all three of the classes.
New this year is an effort to prepare the students for actually pricing their artwork appropriately and potentially selling it, though Wright said that’s not the main focus of the show. Teaching them the economics of the art world, considering the tastes of the community and subjective quality of their work is an important exercise, Wright said, as many young artists simply default to charging whatever it cost them to make it.
One of the most valuable parts of the show, in Wright’s opinion, is the chance for students to hear feedback from their own peers. Wright said the students at WL are, in general, awesome and respect their fellow classmate’s artwork and have “lots of beautiful things” to say when the show goes up.
“The kids will sit in the commons, eat their lunch, and listen to all of the positive stuff that’s being said and so that is a huge self-esteem and community builder for the school,” Wright said.
On the performing arts side of things, Wright said they’ve asked students who sing or play an instrument if they’d be interested in performing and several have agreed. These include a couple of guitar players, a classical singer and a pianist.
Dena Baumann will be setting up and running a professional sound system for the volunteer performers while Kim Nowotny will be assisting with the sale of henna tattoos, refreshments and pizza provided on-site. Art can be purchased via an Interac-machine or by cash, with artwork available at the end of the show on Jan. 31.
“I love seeing them get excited and take ownership of their work. The most fulfilling part for me is not the actual show but their excitement and their desire to want to make this happen,” Wright said.
In addition to Wright, several students helped organize the show including Isaac Lauren, a Grade 11 student who did the show as his capstone project, a new part of the grad transition curriculum. Lauren remarked with a rueful grin he originally took on the art show because he thought it’d be an easy project, as he goes to art class every day, but he soon found out it was a lot harder than he anticipated.
“I also like art, I think art is very important in creating a more diverse school culture so I wanted to get my hands into it and make an art show,” Lauren said.
The business side of organizing a show, including sending e-mails and talking to the school’s administration about ordering items and putting in a work order for some boards to hang the art on, involved a fair bit of leg work, Lauren said. Taken all together though, the experience really made him realize just how much work it is to put on an art show as it turned out it was more than just “throwing art on the wall.”
Finally getting to put up the artwork, after planning and organizing since late December, has been the best part of the experience so far for Lauren due to its artistic nature.
As an artist, Lauren tends to have an interest in portraiture, graphite sketches and working with watercolours, though he’s been known to dabble in oil paints and other mediums when he’s feeling adventurous. He’s always been artistic from a young age but said he has been inspired to take it more seriously over the last four years to see what he can really do.
While he doesn’t know if he’ll pursue art professionally in the future, he said that given the chance to organize another art show he definitely would. LCSS has a lot of talented artists within it and Lauren said he loves helping to bring their work into the spotlight.
One of these artists showing off her work is Carmen Davis, a Grade 12 student working on personal study arts through the school. Davis gets to choose what she wants to paint and uses her class and personal time to follow a criteria she helped set out.
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Two of the big projects she worked on that made it into this show was a painting of a bear made in memory of Jeff Alexander, who passed away in Bella Coola last year, and a painting of a woman, which she joked is the most ‘provocative’ piece in the show. Davis said she was also quite excited by the fact students will be able to actually sell their art this year.
“I’ve been drawing ever since I was little and then when I went to Brazil on my exchange last year, I actually had the opportunity to work with a famous painter and I took classes with him,” Davis said. “I got to bring my art home, all the way from Brazil, to display in this art show.”
The painter, by the name of Fabiano Millani, travels all over the world to give art classes, Davis said, and he just happened to be based out of her host town. Davis paid to use his studio facilities by the hour where Millani would teach her how to hold her paintbrush, what strokes to use on a canvas and how there are thousands of different colours in a human face, not just one. As he specializes in realism, it inspired her to try her own hand at it and she’s realized she has a knack for it.
While each art student is required to take part in the show, Davis said that she was really proud of her work this time around and feels that this show instills a sense of pride in her fellow artists. As art is not shown off as much as sports or mathematics, she thinks it’s really cool they get this opportunity to show their own work to the school.
“(This show) inspires you and shows you that your kids aren’t just spending all their time on their technology and they’re actually investing a lot of their time, in school, on art,” Davis said. “You never know how far these kids can go. I know that we have a lot of really good artists in this town and I think it’s important small communities like this get recognized for their artistic skills.”
Any parents unable to attend the opening are welcome to come in and look at the art after school or during their lunch break over the course of the next week, Wright said.