Guest post by Rachel Evans, Teacher, Banting Memorial High School
An exciting first-time event is taking place right now in Alliston—Banting Memorial High School (BMHS) student art work is on display at the Gibson Centre.
The Exhibition Celebrating Work by Graduating BMHS Visual Arts Students is a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their work to the community. It gives them real-life experiences and can boost their confidence as artists.
The exhibition, made possible by the cooperation and support of the South Simcoe Arts Council (SSAC), displays 70 drawings, paintings and sculptures created by BMHS students. Their work can be viewed at the centre until February 10. The opening reception, held on January 11, was attended by over 200 visitors to the gallery.
In the past, Banting’s graduating Visual Arts students have exhibited artwork at other venues in their community, but this is the first time that such a comprehensive exhibit of their work has been possible in one venue. The experience of working toward the exhibition not only provided a focus for the students’ art production, but also resulted in the students becoming very supportive of each other as fellow artists.
As the day approached for installing the exhibit, students engaged in critiquing their work and selecting the pieces to put on display. The process of mounting the exhibition took place in one day. The 23 students worked together to ensure that their curatorial choices were sound and that the technical aspects of hanging artwork were executed properly. With the successful cooperation of every student, the exhibit was ready to be viewed by members of the community.
Although the weather was uncooperative, the opening reception was attended by many people: students, their families, neighbours, friends and many members of the community. The students’ sense of accomplishment was reinforced by the positive feedback they received during the reception. Genuine appreciation for their work, including offers of purchase and commissions, helped to validate their creative process, and ultimately their decision to share their artwork with the public. They continue to receive feedback via the guest book, through anecdotal comments they hear in the community and in the local media.
While the show runs until February 10, many more visitors are expected to view the artwork as the Gibson Centre for Community, Arts and Culture hosts a wide variety of events. With the support of the SSAC and the Gibson Centre, the Visual Arts Department at Banting is planning on making this an annual event for its graduating arts students.