“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” ~ Pablo Picasso
Most of us know that art is a fundamentally important part of any child’s development; a notion which is reinforced because we've all experienced and have seen first hand how children are so naturally drawn to the creative process and the making of art. But beyond what we might feel and believe, there is a mountain of studies in support of why art is important in a child's development. Creating art expands a child's ability to interact with the world around them, and provides them with the vital skills for self-expression and communication. Not only does an arts education help to develop the right side of the brain, it also cultivates important skills that benefit a child's overall development. But an art education goes far beyond the tangible statistics measured by any study, it can become a pivotal mode of uninhibited self-expression and creativity. The arts matter the same way language matters, or the way breathing matters! It is a fundamental component of what makes us uniquely human.
I find it amazing given the insurmountable evidence which time and time again supports the importance of the arts in a well balanced education, the arts remain the first programs to suffer funding cuts. What we fail to recognize is the arts are critical to developing a child's Creativity, Confidence, Problem Solving, Perseverance, Focus , Non-Verbal Communication, Receiving Constructive Feedback, Collaboration, Dedication, Accountability. Then again perhaps there is a move afoot to dumb down our society and remove the ability for critical thinking as it will only serve to make us far more agreeable and passive. Then again perhaps my trip to Burma has got me thinking about George Orwell and his book 1984, after all it’s just a work of fiction is it not …?
This exhibition would not have been possible if not for the belief and dedication of the fantastic work of our three high school art teachers: Donna Cowles (Summerland Secondary School), Brad Gibson (Princess Margaret Secondary School) and Shauna Reid (Penticton Secondary School). Thank you for your time and belief in the value of the arts and thank you to all the students who have shared their work with us and in doing so have provided us a window into their world and that which is of interest and concern to them in todays day and age.
I asked each teacher to provide a brief summary of the project they were working on this past year and here is what they had to share:
Brad Gibson (Princess Margaret Secondary School): I have always tried to impress upon my students the importance of recognizing that creating art should be more about the journey than the final product. That said, I also think that one of things I have always enjoyed about creating art is the sense of pride I feel when I look upon the things I have created.
The 2013/2014 school year is very quickly coming to a close. All of my students from grades 9 through 12 were asked to create small clay skulls as an introductory project for this year’s clay unit. Seeing all of the skulls as a mass reminded me very much of the Terra-cotta figurines that were created for the burial tomb of the Chinese Emperor Qin in the late 3rd century B.C.E. Similar to the subtle differences in the personalities of the Terra-cotta figurines, I asked that the students add their own creative twist to building a skull that reflected their own personal aesthetic. Some were quite content taking on the challenge of simply creating a basic skull form while others worked hard towards creating a skull that reflected their own unique personality.
The grade 9/10 students explored the concept of “Spirit Masks” as their final clay project. I really encouraged the students to do their best to not just simply re-create masks from pop culture, but somehow use elements and designs that would be incorporated into a final mask that reflected each of the students own personalities. The grade 11/12 students took on a rather challenging unit exploring functioning tea cups and tea pots. Once again, I always encourage the students to design the cup and pot so that we the viewer can see the aesthetic relationship between the two sculptures through colour, design or a specific theme of their choice. It is always great to see the variety of approaches students take with their designs that further reinforce all of our unique approaches to creating!
I have also included in our work some recent drypoint etchings created by the grade 11/12 students. This project asked that the students create an image personal to them by using x-ray sheets and sharpened nails in which to create the incised lines on the x-ray. The final prints explored the subtle printing techniques used to reach the desired contrast of dark and light within the image. I told the students that drypoint etching is an old and somewhat archaic form of creating art, but there is something unique and beautiful with the final images when they are printed on the press.
On behalf of the students in the visual art program at Maggie we hope you enjoy the work and consider the time and energy each student put fourth during their aesthetic journey!”
Shauna Reid (Penticton Secondary School): Penticton Secondary has chosen to present a variety of projects that will showcase what all the students from grade 9 through 12 have been working on this year. We have submitted multi-media pieces, sculptures, and drawing.
Graffiti 2D to 3D ~ Students are exposed to graffiti on a daily basis. Controversy surrounding graffiti art made it into the news this fall when the founder of Lululemon commissioned a large graffiti mural on the Kitsilano seawall. After 1-point perspective and color theory lessons, grade 9 and 10 students were asked to choose a word and design a graffiti ‘tag’. Once the designs were complete in felt marker they redesigned the tag and created a paper mache three dimensional representation of the word.
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Gargoyles ~ In the Middle Ages, Gothic Cathedrals were embellished with carvings and sculptures of many kinds. Gargoyles were exterior sculptures that seemed to stand guard over the cathedrals. These hideous creatures were thought to scare away evil spirits and create a safe haven for church patrons. On a more practical note they were also designed to help drain water away from the building. Students in grades 10 through 12 were asked to research a real Gargoyle from anywhere in the world and create a large charcoal
study of the sculpture. They then had to sculpt a gargoyle like creature out of clay.
Art Journal Pages ~ These multi-media collages capture the student’s personalities and individuality. They were challenged to incorporate the following criteria into their work. After that, it was up to them. Text - a quote or words of wisdom. Character - human, animal, creature or? Surface - Add at least one more paper of your choosing to the page. Color & Medium- watercolours, watercolour pencil crayons, water soluble felts, or a combo.
Donna Cowles (Summerland Secondary School): Summerland Secondary students have created a collection of works to be very proud of for this years show, “Art -i- facts”.
Both Junior and Senior 2D, 3D classes have taken a trip down
memory lane focusing on subjects that have significant meaning to them. Candy… Food… Jewelry… Toys… Nature… Planets… Icons… Music…
They have dabbled with vivid colour, graphic shape, surface, contrast and delicate detail.
On behalf of the students and our community I would like to thank all our regions teachers for helping inspire, guide and educate our youth as they are our future. Its amazing the importanceand impact one teacher can have on a student and how this can direct ones future is not a matter to be taken lightly as our future depends and relies upon it. Thank you and I wish you all a well deserved summer vacation.
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
William Arthur Ward