A group of budding artists and poets celebrated the opening of their first show Thursday afternoon.
Grade 5 and 8 students from Riverside Public School spent much of the spring working closely with professional artists and poets to produce work for the school’s Aboriginal Arts Festival, now in its second year. Their show, sponsored by the Saskatchewan Arts Board, opened yesterday at the John V. Hicks Gallery where it will run until May 31.
Noted visual artist Jack Jensen, a founding member of the local Kyla Artist Group, gave students from two Riverside classes pointers on visual art throughout the month of April.
“I tried to make them look at things critically… just be more mindful of everything around them,” he said. “I think they didn’t know quite what to expect, but they warmed up to it probably by the second class.”
Jensen said he first worked with the students on pencil sketching, before moving on to coloured pencil and chalk and finally acrylic paints on canvas board.
Grade 7 student Kaydence Witchekan said she learned a lot from Jensen during their time together.
“It was a great experience to work with Jack,” she said. “I learned how to shade better, and how to do a mix of colours without making it look sloppy.”
Witchekan, who painted a shawl dancer entitled “Dancing Fawn” for the gallery, said she hopes to keep working on her art and improve her drawing and sketching skills.
Carla Braidek, a Saskatchewan poet who has authored two collections, gave the students their first taste of creative writing. Braidek said she did lots of different writing exercises with the students to help inspire them, including a talking circle and a nature walk by the river.
Braidek said the most important piece of advice she passed on to the students was that each of them has a unique story that cannot be told by anyone else.