Surrey program emphasizes the importance of making ‘art together’

The free Art Together program was launched in Surrey last December

Alex Wilks, Surrey Now-Leader contributor

SURREY — Hands were kept busy as many inner artists were unleashed at the Art Together Sizzling Art Bash on July 11.

Art Together is a free local program that launched in December of last year. It encourages people between the ages of 15 to 30 to explore art in an open and welcoming environment.

“We meet together every two weeks and the youth and young adults get to choose and give input as to what’s going to happen in the upcoming months,” explained Engagement Assistant at the Surrey Art Gallery, Charis Au.

Collaborative watercolour landscapes, recycled cardboard beach balls and clay creations were the three artistic projects voted in by the team members for the special extended evening session.

“Our usual program what we do is we invite different artists every week to talk about their practice so the participants learn how to make art together, projects together, learn about different mediums,” Au noted. “The Sizzling Art Bash is just an enhanced version of that. Instead of just one artist coming in we have three.”

Tomoyo Ihaya — an exhibiting artist in the Gallery and previous instructor with the Art Together group — mentored participants in the art of watercolour landscapes.

“It’s a spontaneous drawing with a bit of mixed media,” explained Ihaya as she points to colourful, detailed landscape piece lying on the table. “Mixed media means that there’s a strip of paper that I brought and they cut it out and collage it [and] paint over it.”

“It’s so free and releasing for [my students],” she added. “When everybody comes together they have such different drawings.”

Although there is no obligation to come to every meeting, some members are very passionate and committed; Gemma Lazarich has attended every Art Together session.

“I wanted to be more involved in community on some level,” explained Lazarich. “I really, really love art. It’s just a chance to do it more socially.”

“It’s a real opportunity to get a new perspective on art you don’t get,” she added.

This September the group is set to host an Artist Talk session where young artists share their practices with their peers.

Art Together meets every second Tuesday between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Surrey Art Gallery.