The with.draw.all project is separate from the annual High Energy exhibit, which will still be happening in some form this year.
Mid-April is usually the time when high school art students would be putting the finishing touches on their works to go in the annual High Energy exhibit at the Art Gallery of St. Albert. This year, however, they are also creating works to be featured online with a challenge called with.draw.all that will be posted to the Gazette’s website twice a month, starting Thursday this week.
“What I see this project doing for us is letting the kids know that even though everybody's in their own school and everybody's in their own place, we're still all connected as artists and as artists we are the storytellers,” began Judy Smallwood, art teacher at Bellerose Composite High School.
“Artists throughout history have always been the storytellers. It's really important through this time when all humanity is sharing this experience, the artists will be the ones who will do the storytelling.”
“One of the things that we talked about as a group ... is that we wanted to create a platform for the kids to still be committed and connected to the community, and showing their work and having people see the kinds of things that they can come up with, even though they're working through these like, pretty huge limitations because they have to work from home,” added Paul Kane’s Colleen Hewitt.
SACHS teacher Teresa Wallsten said how excited she was to embark on this project as a way to emphasize the high value of art that must not be lost even when students and teachers are separated.
“Art is such an important component of their education because it provides balance for their well-being. They need it for their future, too, so they need to continue to practice it.”
The challenge for the students was to create one or two pieces per week. Wallsten noted how many of them are so eager and invested in their art that they are producing new work every day.
“This is an outlet for them and an opportunity to communicate with us. That's really important.”
Look for the work of the first nine students – three from each of these schools – to appear on the Gazette’s Local Arts and Culture page on April 16.
Meanwhile, the teachers are still hoping to figure out a way to offer a virtual High Energy exhibit.