A show of support
The show must go on.
Turns out, that rather famous line is as true of the visual arts as it is in the theatre.
So when the much anticipated year-end exhibition for students in D.W. Poppy’s fine art program was cancelled because of the teachers strike, rather than chalk it up to bad timing, a trio of Grade 12 students, knowing they wouldn’t get another chance in high school, took matters into their own hands.
Brianna Anderson, Tia DenOs and Tess Collens decided to host a class exhibit at a nearby golf course, instead.
Collecting pieces of their own work along with those of their classmates, the teens arranged an exhibition featuring 34 large easel pieces and about 50 small sketches.
In order to set it up, they had to cross the picket line outside the high school to pick up easels and other equipment, but Anderson said the striking teachers didn’t seem to object.
“They understand we’re not doing it to make a statement,” she said.
In fact, she said, many of them came to see the show on June 17.
The exhibit was on display for just one evening but while the students were handing out flyers advertising the show, they met Pat Barker, owner of the Pencil Studio in Fort Langley’s Bedford Landing.
As she looked at the pamphlet, said Anderson, a thoughtful look passed across Barker’s face.
She told the young artists that she had an open week at her gallery, but they would have to pull together a show fairly quickly.
Because the Pencil Studio is relatively small, the students’ show had to be pared down from its original size.
That’s actually a good thing, said Anderson, because it means only the top pieces will make it in.
“It will be a little bit scaled down but higher quality,” said Anderson.
“We’re picking the best (work) of each artist.”
Some of the students brought their portfolios to show Barker.
Among the pieces were water colour, pencil crayon and graphite images and “very beautiful” close ups of eyes.
“I was really quite impressed,” she said.
The work was wonderful Barker said, but the presentation — paper glued to black construction paper — left a little to be desired.
So she decided to dig up some old frames and help the girls stage a more professional looking show.
Like the students, the gallery owner isn’t trying to make a political statement about the teachers’ job action, she said.
“While I understand the reasons why teacher’s strike, I empathized with these kids, because I know how important that end of the year art show would have been to them.
“Most of the kids are going on to universities and worked very hard on their portfolios, but didn’t get to show them,” said Barker.
“Most of them are graduating and then going away — which made it more important.”
The exhibit will open at Barker’s studio-gallery at #10-23230 Billy Brown Rd. in Fort Langley on Friday, July 4, with a reception from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will hang until July 10.
The Pencil Studio is open Wednesday to Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m.