Local artists bring art to life for Pender students

January 23,2017

Artists in the schools like writers in the schools enlightens those students who dream about being artists or writers to the realization that they can choose these as careers. It is not unrealistic to follow their passions, no matter those passions are.

Little by little, I have chosen to follow my passions more and more over the years and I am here to say this is an ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL thing to do.

Here is an article to reinforce this:

Gulf Islands Driftwood– Penders edition
Wednesday, September 6, 2000
Local artists bring art to life for Pender students
by Tanya Lester

The Art is Us program, connecting Penders artists with students in the local school, is expected to highlight visual art and theatre facilitation for teenagers this year. And it will do so to an extent that perhaps has never been seen at Pender Islands School.

The formula that is making Art is Us work is one dedicated parent plus one dedicated teacher and fundraising, said Carolyn MacDonald, North \\\\\pender representative on the Trincomali Arts Council. “The idea flowers from work done by parent Carole Nicholson.” She has been working closely with Colleen Shannon who teaches the Pender Islands Secondary Program.

Last year, Nicholson was spurred on to find an alternative to the correspondence course offered high school students because both she and her daughter thought it was “somewhat dry.”

Nicholson, whose husband is artist Richard Nicholson and who “draws all the time” herself, recognized a golden opportunity to link the large community of islands artists with the students.

She decided to ask artists to volunteer for two sessions with the students. Each one she phoned said yes without hesitation and spent much more time with the young people than the minimum required.

The program ran on a weekly basis from October to February. Kelly Irving showed the students drawing techniques. Gill Peterson worked with them on paintings and colour. Amarah Gabriel facilitated a collage treasure map.

Mask-making was the art form Jacqueline Dandeneau and David Ferney worked on with the young people. Corre Alice demonstrated and helped them with silk-screening.

“It’s so life giving,” said Nicholson by way of evaluating the workshops. “I’ve seen the students come so alive. They just get to be themselves. Artists are such tender people. The only thing the students didn’t like about the course was the day they were told it had come to an end.”

This year, Irving will again do the weekly drawing classes. Peterson will do an acrylics workshop for a week duration. Alice is set to return.

Dandeneau and Ferney will introduce block printing.

A new component will be drama and stage craft.

For example, with input from the local theatre community, interested students could mount an entire play right from selecting the selecting the script to acting to set design and production. Storytelling, a behind-the-scenes examination of how everything comes together, lighting and stage properties will be included.

The courses also allow students to participate in the arts community outside the school’s walls. For instance, their is an Art is Us exhibit as part of the Arting Around show each spring. Students were also involved in Solstice Theatre’s Goodnight Desdemona (Goodmorning Juliet) production. A couple were involved in the New Year 2000 celebration coordinated by Ferney and Dandeneau.

Students who complete these courses will receive credits.

Not only will Art is Us combat some of the recent cutbacks to arts instruction in the school but it will also encourage young people to interact with community members, said MacDonald, who is also arts council treasurer. In addition, it will dispel the “bad rap” that teenagers seem to be getting.

Other benefits will be the nurturing of social skills and confidence building. “With art there isn’t too much of a wrong answer,” said MacDonald.

Artist Joe Coffey has already agreed to donate one of his prints as a raffle prize to fundraise for the program.

And Solstice Theatre has “put its money where its mouth is” by providing funding. The Trincomali Arts Council, the Pender Islands Agricultural and Hall Association and Pender Island Community Social Services have also contributed financially to Art is Us.

Nicholson, who home schools her children until they are ready to attend high school, was motivated to start the program by art itself.

“I love art,” she said. “I like art around me. We buy it or trade it when we can. I believe art should be valued by the community at large.”

Her other reason is her bond with the students. “They’re such great kids.”

Tanya does psychic readings including tea leaf reading and tarot. To tap in to her passions, contact her directly at tealeaf.56@gmail.com or call her cell at 250-538-0086. For more information about her intuitive abilities, her books, her housesitting and her reiki go to her pages at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google or go to her web site at teareading.wordpress.com

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