The College of the Rockies had art displayed in almost every room and hallway on April 24, showcasing the work of the school’s art program students. Paintings, sculptures, pottery, sketches and more were there for the enjoyment of the dozens of visitors who came out to enjoy the show.
There is no minimum skill level required to enter this program, and students join for a variety of reasons.
“It’s a therapy for me. I used to do this a long time ago, but I had a series of strokes. So this is teaching me how to do it all over again,” said Annette Edwards, who had multiple pieces in the showcase. “It’s been very helpful for me.”
One of Edwards’ favourite things about the classes she took was that the teachers don’t try to control your creativity, they let you do what comes naturally to you. She pointed out several paintings that were from the same assignment in her class, and none of them looked similar.
“She lets you make your own mistakes,” said Edwards, who plans on continuing with the program as long as she can. “When I feel overwhelmed I can just sit in front of the canvas and do whatever, whatever comes into my mind. It’s great therapy for me.”
Janis Dyck taught an introduction to acrylic that explored different techniques and helped students learn to express themselves using that medium. The class used loose guidelines as a starting point, but was given the room to explore.
“I’m an art therapist by trade, so it’s more about using art as a way of exploring your inner self,” said Dyck. “The students have done an amazing job, and we just have such a great variety on display here.”
“What’s wonderful as a student is that the college had access to such remarkable artists and teachers right in our own community, who had the skill to encourage us to grow,” said Jan Rodman, another student in the program. “I had never painted ever…when I was in Grade 8 my teacher told me that I wasn’t an artist…The nurturing I got from these teachers was amazing.”
COTR’s Meg Langley was instrumental in bringing the art program to the college in the first place.
“I believe that art enhances learning in general,” said Langley, who chased down the funding to get the program going. “I thought this event was a great opportunity to showcase all this work. Most of us don’t think of ourselves as artists, especially ones who show their work, so to have a venue where the focus wasn’t just on one person was wonderful.”
COTR is hoping to continue this successful program as long as the funding is available.