Teens' work showing in local gallery
Art: "Serendipity" exhibit showcases talent of high school artists
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 12:08 pm
Two schools rivals on the field are putting their differences aside in the name of art. Foothills Composite High School and Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) art students have teamed up to showcase the talent hidden within their school walls at the Okotoks Art Gallery beginning next month.
More than a dozen Grades 10 to 12 students, many whom are entrepreneurs, will showcase their sculptures, paintings, sketches, photography and other artistic creations at the Okotoks Art Gallery in an exhibition called “Serendipity.”
“It’s a little bit different than normal because HTA and the Comp are rival schools in every sport,” said HTA Grade 12 student and photographer Jason Vandenberg. “Now we are working together which I think is really cool.”
Vanderberg said that’s where the title “Serendipity” comes from.
“We named it ‘Serendipity’ because someone brought it up that serendipity means coming together and that’s what our group is all about,” he said. “It’s young artists of Okotoks coming together to showcase their art work in a public setting.”
What is unique about the student exhibition is there is no set style, Vanderberg said.
“It’s just every art style, every idea coming together and that’s what we really wanted as a theme,” he said. “Then that can encompass every one of the students having their artwork in the show.”
The idea to display student art in the Okotoks Art Gallery came from Foothills Composite High School student Kalen Wolfe, who created a variety of metal sculptures out of cutlery, which began as a welding project in Grade 11.
The Grade 12 student started an art group a year ago with the idea of showcasing a student collection at the Okotoks Art Gallery.
“I realized there wasn’t a bunch of youth art being displayed in the community,” he said. “The youth are a very big part of the community and the future of the community. I sent a request to the art gallery and they thought it would be a good show. There is very high quality stuff being produced by kids my age and that’s also the reason I think it should be shown.”
Town of Okotoks visitor services specialist Andrea Spiers said the community doesn’t always get to see the talent of its youth and is glad to give them that opportunity at the art gallery.
“Some of the kids came to us and we helped them any way we could,” she said. “They did all the work themselves and they came to us for a couple of questions here and there. It’s such good practice for them for the real world.”
Alberta High School of Fine Arts Grade 12 student Sarah Johnston said she is eager to display her paintings at the exhibit.
Having her work exhibited in a gallery is not knew to Johnston, who won an Alberta College of Art and Design art competition last year. As a result, one of her paintings was among 60 to be displayed in the college’s exhibition.
“It’s not really new territory but the thing that’s exciting about it is it’s the students that organized it,” she said. “It wasn’t someone who organized it, it was us doing it.”
Known for his wildlife and portrait photography, Vanderberg was told about the art group by his art teacher and was thrilled to become involved.
“I thought this will be cool to get my art out there a bit,” he said. “That’s why I really love this is because we have a chance to show off our art in a public setting that is the Town of Okotoks Art Gallery. There is not much better that you can get than that in Okotoks.”
Wolfe asked Vanderberg for his help in getting the exhibit set up. Vanderberg was instrumental in scheduling meetings and photographing many of the pieces.
“I ended up putting over 40 hours of volunteer work into it,” he said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting that when I said, ‘Yeah, sure I’ll do it.’”
Vanderberg envisions “Serendipity” as a beginning for young artists to showcase their talent.
“I really think it’s going to help young artists in Okotoks because it’s going to show what the talent is right now and it’s going to influence and promote students to do artwork and maybe one day they can be putting their artwork, just like us high school students, into the art gallery,” he said. “It’s going to be an awesome thing for young artists and student artists in Okotoks because it’s great exposure. My hope is that maybe this can continue on for years to come.”
“Serendipity” will be on display at the Okotoks Art Gallery from March 1 to April 20. An opening reception where people can meet the artists will be held March 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
In conjunction with “Serendipity” the small gallery will feature “Virtual Music” by Lethbridge artist Bev Mazurick. This collection of abstract paintings translates music into visual art with each piece representing a different song.