This past weekend, while some of Alberta’s greatest artists had their works for sale at the annual Encore Art Show and Sale some much younger, less experienced artists had their own pieces on display at The Gallery on Main.
As part of a class art project, Grade 4 students from Father Lacombe Catholic School had paintings illustrating poems they had written displayed at a brief running exhibition at Lacombe’s premiere source for art.
Leah Jackson, the teacher who came up with the idea for the project and subsequent exhibition, said that poetry is about engaging all of your senses because it evokes images, sounds and even smells when read. So, when planning the poetry unit for her Grade 4 class, she was thinking of how to engage other senses along with it.
Jackson thought about using music or something from nature to add to the unit. She said she settled on painting to help the kids use their talents with visual mediums.
“They are very artistic and visual and hands on,” said Jackson. “I really wanted them to produce a product that they could be proud of, that they could share with the whole world and that they could keep for a long time.”
Students then wrote poems and illustrated them with painting. It was an idea that the students warmed up to right away, said Jackson.
“They really loved it. They worked really hard.”
Once the students completed their artworks, Jackson approached Laverne Jones at The Gallery on Main about displaying the artworks there. Jackson said that, in addition to giving the students some exposure and a taste of what it is like to be a professional artist, displaying the art was a way for the class to partner with a community outside the school itself.
“I strongly believe in the school being involved in the community and the community knowing what the school and the students are doing. I think they should be connected.”
For the students, the exhibit was a bit of a surprise. Jones said that they didn’t know anything about the display until they made a field trip to the gallery the morning of April 25.
“I thought it was great,” said Jones. “To me it’s a chance to get more kids interested in art and also get them into a gallery.”
It was also significant that the students got the chance to display their art while the Encore Art Show and Sale was happening at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. Jones said she was glad to be able to offer some space to display the works of some of Alberta’s lesser-known artists.
Jones also commented on how the pieces are somewhat unique. She said it is not very common for artists to merge two mediums together, as these students have with poetry and painting. In any case, the display turned out quite well, she added.
“For the most part, it’s turned out as an absolute masterpiece. Every single one of them is great.”