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Spotlight shines on Chilliwack high school students in ART33 show

Annual art show at Chilliwack Cultural Centre features talented students in Grades 11 and 12

Young artists from four Chilliwack high schools currently have their work on display for the public to see, and it’ll be in a gallery over the next month.

ART33, an annual art show featuring the talents of dozens of Grade 11 and 12 students, is at the O’Connor Group Art Gallery in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre from April 24 to May 25. Participating schools are Chilliwack, Sardis, G.W. Graham and Kwíyeqel secondary schools.

“There’s a variety of 3D works with a lot of focus on animals this year… we’re noticing a lot of sea life themes,” said G.W. Graham art teacher Khaila Piorecky. “There’s some really neat map pieces. The photos this year are really great, too. I’ve noticed really strong photography.”

Themes include architecture, landscape, “expressive hands” using charcoal and graphite, bug eyes and animal eyes, landmarks, and fantasy scenes as seen through an airplane window.

“It’s an airplane window and anything can be on the other side,” said Chilliwack Secondary art teacher Jessica Cordeiro as she pointed at the artwork her students made. “We have megalodon, but we also have a dragon coming through the glass.”

ART33, the annual high school exhibition, is at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre from April 24 to May 25, 2024. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Fellow Chilliwack Secondary art teacher Amy Fast assigned her students a project using old maps that were donated to the school.

She encouraged the kids to research the area on the map, find an issue in that region and draw the issue and/or a potential solution to the problem right on top of the map.

“We were reusing the maps that were, at this point, obsolete, but then we were also trying to bring attention to any issues – social, political, environmental – that might be in the areas upon which they’re drawing,” Fast said. “It forced them to research, it forced them to look into things. But, I also liked that we could double layer it and say ‘OK, what does the solution look like?’”

Along another wall is a shelf full of about 40 or more semi trucks made out of paper and cardboard. Sardis Secondary student Daniel Pilch made them, but what people will see on display is only about half of his collection.

Sardis teacher Sandra Wiens said he brings a new one to school nearly every other day to show her, and then brings it home again.

Josephine Watson’s piece ‘Another One.’

Josephine Watson, a Grade 12 student at G.W. Graham, has a piece in the show titled ‘Another One.’ It’s a watercolour and chalk pastel piece of her putting a candle on her birthday cake.

“It represents the impact of growing up and the loss of celebration. Birthdays no longer feel special, it’s now just another candle and another number. This piece was created around the time of my 17th birthday,” Watson said. “Art is important to me because it allows me to explore my identity and overcome any obstacles I face. I am free to express myself when I create.”

Sam Huxley’s painting ‘The Final Stretch.’

Grade 12 Sardis student Sam Huxley’s painting is titled ‘The Final Stretch’ depicting a man taking a break under a shadeless tree.

“Art is life and I love making art more than anything else. I’ve been taking art very seriously because it’s what I’m meant to do with my life.”

He has his own clothing brand called Extreme Gear which is the main outlet where he showcases his art. He has plans to take an introductory fine arts course in Dawson City.

“I plan on doing whatever it takes to make my art career possible.”

Piorecky can see the potential in a lot of the students.

“A lot of these pieces are being used also for college portfolio submissions because they are getting ready for the next steps,” Piorecky said. “Some kids have already been accepted to Emily Carr and Capilano, so there’s lots of early professional work here.”

There is also a chance to buy some of the work, though there will not be any price tags on the pieces.

“Some of the students are interested in selling their work,” Piorecky added. “If people are open to discussing prices, they would just contact the teacher via email and we connect with the student.”

ART33, a high school art show, runs April 24 to May 25 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. The opening reception is Saturday, April 27 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., and on some evenings during performance nights at the centre.

Chilliwack Secondary art teacher Jessica Cordeiro hangs work as part of ART33, the annual high school exhibition at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Looking for more events taking place in and around Chilliwack? Check out What’s happening Chilliwack in our community section.

Jenna Hauck

About the Author: Jenna Hauck

I started my career at The Chilliwack Progress in 2000 as a photojournalist.
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