BMCS Hosts Gallery of Gifted Artisans

Vol 15, Issue 11, Leduc - Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

Photo: Artrist Corrine Desjarlais featured her talent at the Buck Mountian Central School

It was a collection of enormous talent manifested in breathtaking works of art, depictions of First Nations lives, beliefs, and culture in extraordinary, brilliant colors that caught the eye and held it.  The exhibit, called, 'Creator Paints the World...The Colour of Our Voice', is an art collection of First Nations students from Blue Quill College, and as part of an Art Gallery of Alberta Travelling Exhibition, Buck Mountain Central School in Buck Lake is showcasing the art pieces this month.

Cultural Creativity

"It's an opportunity for students to view culture in art form," said Corrine Desjarlais, the school's FNMI (First Nations Metis Inuit) Worker, as she pointed out the soap stone carvings, vivid and vibrant canvas paintings, and pencil sketches with detail so fine and realistic, it was impossible not to stare for a long time.

"We are the third school in Alberta to have this exhibit," said Corrine, explaining that it had come from the Erminskin Junior High School in Hobbema.  The gallery of twenty two art pieces created mostly by first and second year Blue Quill students was an impressive collection of professional quality artwork in various forms. The assembly honoured and reflected the cultural importance of family, environment, and belief systems.

Making it Possible

"The Alberta Foundation of the Arts has supported the provincial traveling exhibit program since 1981," said Corrine,    "their mandate of the traveling art exhibition is to provide every Albertan with the opportunity to enjoy visual arts."

As the primary arts resource and grant funding body in Alberta, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) promotes art in all its forms, from paintings and carvings to writing and sculpture.  The AFA has four regional organizations from the four corners of the province, coordinating the travelling exhibit program (called TREX) for the Foundation, enabling galleries to travel to destinations in the outreach areas to the far north and south of Alberta.  The AFA website (www.affta.ab.ca) states that travelling art exhibits allow approximately 300,000 visitors to enjoy almost 100 displays in over 107 communities every year.

The program is unique in that it offers educational support material for integrating visual arts exhibitions into the school carriculum, "like scavenger hunts, for example" said Corrine.  Combining play with learning, the art exhibitions are a valuable experience in cultural expression through artforms.

Corrine Desjarlais explains that a variety of cultural events or activities are arranged for Buck Mountain's students.  "We have done drum making here, soap stone carving, cultural workshops, and occasionally bring in Guest Speakers."  The parents are very supportive, said Desjarlais, often taking part in workshops.

The First Nations art display will run until the end of March.  April, says Corrine, will present an Inuit exhibition.

 
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