There was live music and dozens of smiling faces amid the art of local high school students at the Quesnel Art Gallery.
The opening of the gallery’s latest exhibition, “New Art,” sponsored by School District 28, took place on 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.
“It’s an exciting exhibition because a lot of students are going to art school, and it’s important that we support them,” said Marguerite Hall, director of the Quesnel Art Gallery.
“It’s also significant as this is our first opening in two years – it’s been a great turnout and really exciting as it shows Quesnel is ready to re-enter the arts world.”
Olivia van den Elzen, who has exhibited six acrylic paintings, is a student ready to pursue an artistic education after graduating from Correlieu Secondary School this year.
She will be attending the University of Alberta to hopefully complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts.
During the hour-long opening, young emerging artists received more than 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 it a plus size, someone like me, so people like me can see there’s work to be done with that too,” she said of her positive figurines. for plus size clay bodies that remained exposed.
“I’ve never really worked with clay,” she added. “Normally I only do a few drawings, and I really found myself loving it this year – all the things you can do with your hands, it’s just crazy.”
Janet Laurie, a high school art teacher from Correlieu, called it an exciting time for students to see their art on display and hear people’s feedback.
Laurie said she liked the vibrancy of their artwork, noting how difficult COVID-19 had been for the students, some of whom had worked from home and others whose moods had suffered.
“That kind of thing is really helpful to end the room and feel good, and it’s nice because they can see it on a wall,” she added.
“We have a lot of different styles, and people find their styles, you can see that. A lot of parents have commented that it’s so distinctive who is who and it matches their personality.
Prints of some of the paintings are available, the proceeds from which will support students in their future endeavours, Laurie said.
The “New Art” fair runs until Wednesday April 6th.
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