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Richmond students display art at MLA's office (show til June 15)

Our art exhibit is in Richmond News! Viewing hours are from noon to 4 p.m. and the display will be up until June 15.

Richmond students display art at MLA's office

Hugh Boyd art teacher thinks there’s always a need for ‘creative thinkers.’

Maria Rantanen Jun 6, 2023 6:00 PM

When he’s not busy teaching art at Hugh Boyd secondary, Jason Smythe works as a collage artist.

But when he was younger, he’d look at a Rembrandt or other classical painting and feel overwhelmed at the level of technique needed to create an equivalent masterpiece.

He barely saw his talent in collage as an artform.

But as he got older, he realized there’s a wide variety of art – it might just start with arranging triangles on a piece of paper – and this is the message he’d like to convey to his students.

“I think a lot of students have a very narrow understanding of what art is. Maybe when they say they’re not an artist, they’re thinking of classical painting or sculpture,” Smythe told the Richmond News. “Maybe they need to be exposed to different types of art.”

Several of Smythe’s Grade 9 to 12 students are displaying their artistic creations in their first art show – located at MLA Kelly Greene’s constituency office in Steveston until June 15.

The name of the exhibit is “Winter Burrow,” and the art pieces feature homes inhabited by animals amid winter landscapes.

Ryan Monaghan, a Grade 10 student, said their Winter Burrow art piece was inspired by the queer art movement of the 1960s.

Monaghan thought up back stories for the characters in their art piece: they are two foxes, a married lesbian couple who have filled their home with things that represent their life together.

“I wanted to see how details in the house could communicate things about who they are and their life,” they said.

Livia Novak, also a Grade 10 Hugh Boyd student, liked the challenge of creating a home, something she wanted to look cozy, filled with things she likes, for example, album covers with her favourite music and lots of books.

Displaying her art publicly in the constituency office community space was a “cool, fun opportunity,” Novak told the Richmond News.

Students at Hugh Boyd can do a variety of art classes including 2-D and 3-D art – they can also take an art careers class.

Smythe thinks there’s always a need for more “creative thinkers” and as the school curriculum moves toward “inquiry-based learning,” he sees art as an integral part of education.

Furthermore, art can be a way for students to deal with anxiety, he added.

Richmond Art Gallery director Shaun Dacey, who was also at the Winter Burrows art exhibit open house, said the artwork done by the high school students reminded him of the art he did when he was in secondary school.

He encouraged the students – and any Richmond residents – to submit artwork to various open calls for art put on by the city, for example, for Art Rich or the No. 3 Road art columns.

Anyone interested in seeing the art at Greene’s office can call 604-241-8452 or email Viewing hours are from noon to 4 p.m. and the display will be up until June 15.

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