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‘Cool’ call as SACHS art students talk to artist over South Pole

David Bowering's photograph Veiled Girl is just one of the artworks on display starting today for the Art Gallery of St. Albert's new exhibit called Blood

Art students at St. Albert Catholic High School got a nice surprise on Wednesday afternoon when they had a Facebook Live conversation with New York artist Zaria Forman. The Q&A took place as the artist was flying across Antarctica with NASA IceBridge Operations, an operation that uses a fleet of research aircraft to take images of Earth’s polar ice to better understand connections between polar regions and global climate.

The artist was participating in her own research. She is immersed in a series of large pastel landscape works featuring icebergs and other frozen scenes.

The conversation was hastily arranged, SACHS art teacher Teresa Wallsten explained, but well worth it for her and her students.

“The kids were asking amazing questions, and she had these thoughtful, reflective responses,” she said.

Grade 11 art student Julia Chelkowski was thrilled for the opportunity to pick the brain of a professional artist of Forman’s calibre and unique experience level. The long distance conversation offered her some unique insights that she otherwise would have missed. The artist had a lot of influence on her.

“It was awesome. We all wrote out some questions and then we sent them to her. She answered us on Facebook and then we got to call her as she was flying over the South Pole and she was able to elaborate a little more. It was a really cool experience,” she began.

“She really let us know that it’s important to find your passion and to incorporate that into your work. She told us that that’s how her work comes together. She said, ‘Stay realistic. Sometimes it takes time to find your passion but when you do it’ll really help you.’ “

“This was the first time I’ve ever done anything like this and it was just one of those ‘why not?’ on a whim moments. The kids are amazing so I wanted to work with them. I knew that they would show some dedication and have some really smart, sophisticated and thoughtful questions,” Wallsten ended.

The class hopes to reconnect with Forman at a future time.

Blood, Toil, Tears on the walls

The Art Gallery of St. Albert has a new exhibit arriving in advance of Remembrance Day. Blood, Toil, Tears features the work of local artists Marcel Belley and David Bowering, along with Bruno Canadien, Barbara Todd and Dean Turner.

The exhibit is a meditation on the conflict between the politics of war and human values. These works come from local artists plus the gallery’s own collection and the collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

It opens today and an opening reception will be held on Thursday, Nov. 3 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Artists will be in attendance. The gallery will also be open for special holiday hours on Friday, Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It runs until Saturday, Dec. 3. The gallery is located at 19 Perron St. Call 780-460-4310 or visit www.artgalleryofstalbert.com for more information.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.