There was live music and dozens of smiling faces amid the art of local high school students at the Quesnel Art Gallery.
An opening for the gallery’s latest show, “New Art,” sponsored by School District 28, was held Wednesday, March 16.
It was the first such opening for the gallery since the novel coronavirus was declared a pandemic just over two years ago by the World Health Organization.
“This is an exciting show because many of the students are going off to art school, and it’s important that we support them,” said Marguerite Hall, a director with the Quesnel Art Gallery.
“This is also important because it’s our first opening in two years—this has been a great turnout and really exciting because it shows that Quesnel is ready to reenter the world of the arts.”
One student set to pursue art after her graduation this year from Correlieu Secondary School is Olivia van den Elzen who had six acrylic paintings on display.
She will be attending the University of Alberta to hopefully obtain her Bachelor of Fine Arts.
During the hour-long opening, the young emerging artists received more than just praise from those in attendance.
Grade 11 student Bree-Anna Mccarthy sold two of her four pieces focusing on women’s bodies.
“I thought about making them plus size, somebody like me, so that people like me could see there is work with that too,” she said of her clay plus size body positive figurines that remained on display.
“I’ve never really worked with clay,” she added. “Normally, I just do some drawings, and I really found I loved it this year—all the things you can do with your hands it’s just crazy.”
Correlieu Secondary art teacher Janet Laurie called it a changing moment for students to see their art on display and hear people commenting.
Laurie said she loved the vibrance of their artwork, noting how difficult COVID-19 has been on students, some of whom had worked from home and others whose mood had suffered.
“This kind of thing is really helpful for just finishing the piece and then feeling good about it, and this is nice because they get to see it on a wall,” she added.
“We have a lot of diverse styles, and people are finding their styles—you can see it. A lot of parents commented that it’s so distinctive who’s who and it suits their personalities.”
Prints of some of the paintings are available in which the proceeds will support the students in their future endeavors, Laurie said.
The “New Art” show runs until Wednesday, April 6.
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