Watch out – there’s a new virtual high school art show on the block.
As the last edition of the with.draw.all series of art produced during a pandemic arrived to the Gazette’s website last week, Colleen Hewitt, Judy Smallwood and Teresa Wallsten (art teachers at Paul Kane, Bellerose and St. Albert High schools, respectively) announced they had assembled 19 art pieces each for a virtual supplement they have appropriately called COVID-19 Art Show.
“The pieces were all created by students during isolation and highlight the amazing power of art during times of stress,” explained Hewitt.
“Students loved having their work appear in the paper. They were always very honoured when one of their pieces was chosen. Our extended audience of parents, teachers and community members often commented on how great it was to be able to see some of the creative pieces that students were still making, even in times of great stress for them. Having the work published online like that created a place for our visual arts students to express some of the hope, fear and humour that came out of this difficult situation.”
Look for the gallery at sites.google.com/spschools.org/covid-19-high-school-art-show/home. Hewitt writes on the website that the project is as much a testament to the creativity of their students as it is to the stick-togetherness of the three teachers. “Art teachers online ... how do you do that? One answer. Collaboration,” she explained.
“When swimming in unknown water with no clear destination, the most important things are your friends and colleagues. This year brought us the biggest challenge of our careers. So, we looked across our communities and reached out,” she continued.
“This community stretched farther than our schools. Through collaborating with our art colleagues we created quality, sustainable art instruction with clear goals and a combined vision of an art program for all students. We reached out to practising artists in the community to share their stories of working in isolation, and they created videos for our students. We published students' artworks in the local newspaper to share their stories and we ran virtual art shows to celebrate their work. Artists have been the storytellers throughout the ages and we continue this tradition here in a very non-traditional way. Our lives are changing, but art will always be the thing that unites us, humbles us, ignites us, and reminds us of our humanity.”
The show will run until Wednesday, Aug. 26.