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Chalk art fools the eye in Bouchie Lake and Quesnel

Chalk Challenge kicked off Culture Days last week

All artist Scott Gillies needed was a piece of chalk to create defying works of art that tricked the eye at Ecole Red Bluff Lhtako and Bouchie Lake Elementary.

The Vancouver Island artist from Saanich made a stop at the schools last week to help the Quesnel Arts Council mark Culture Days, a national promotion of arts and culture held at the end of each September.

Quesnel Arts Council president Cathy Heinzelman said they have hosted a Chalk Challenge every September through the school district as a ‘kick-off’ to Culture Days.

“This year, we thought we’d take advantage of hosting an artist to show students what can be done with chalk, and invited Gillies to Quesnel to present to students and to the public,” she said.

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Gillies spent Thursday, Sept. 23 at Ecole Red Bluff Lhtako Elementary in Quesnel, where students went outside and watched him work on a giant colored pencil complete with an eraser top you could stand on.

Although some recent rain had washed away most of the art piece, leaving just a bit of the outline remaining as of Wednesday, Sept. 29, vice-principal Ashleigh Desbiens said part of the fun is to be able to have it wash away and then be able to create their own again.

The next day at Bouchie Lake Elementary, Gillies created an illusion of a column in a pit of lava.

At the Quesnel Farmers’ Market on Saturday, Sept. 25, Gillies had worked on boards creating a piece of art for which the Arts Council will find a permanent home for, Heinzelman said.

“Youth and adults had the opportunity to try out chalk as the Arts Council provided it, and many students showed their understanding of three-dimensional drawing as well as creative use of colour,” she added.

This year’s Culture Days have been extended to a four-week run in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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