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Despite COVID-19, young Squamish artists have their time to shine

Squamish Arts Council Youth Art exhibit at Artisan Gallery
Despite COVID-19, young Squamish artists have their time to shine_3
One of the pieces on display at the Artisan Gallery.

Squamish folks who appreciate art can check out the work of some talented youth until April at the Artisan Gallery downtown.

The Youth Artwork exhibit includes various pieces from students in grades seven through 12 who attend: Cedar Valley Waldorf School, Coast Mountain Academy, Howe Sound Secondary, Skyridge Montessori, St'a7mes School-Learning Expeditions, Squamish Alternate School and the Squamish Youth Centre.

The show, which runs until April 6, is part of the Squamish Arts Council Community Galleries program.

"We are trying to bring more youth art into the eye of the community so we thought, let's do a group show with the schools in the district," said Amy Liebenberg, executive director of the Squamish Arts Council.

Some of the art on display is for sale.

One of the youth's pieces sold as it was being installed, Liebenberg said.

Despite COVID-19, young Squamish artists have their time to shine_1
Youth Art on display. - Jennifer Thuncher

"The youth was over the moon, as you can imagine," she said.

(To purchase any of the works on display, contact the child's school with the name of the child and the title of the piece.)

Mo and Tony Rainbow are the volunteer curators of the Artisan Gallery and have been for about the past five years.

They told The Chief they were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the pieces submitted by local kids.

"We didn't know what to expect. Neither Tony nor I have put up children's work before and we have been just so impressed with the standard," said Mo. "It has been... really pleasing to work our way through this and to put everything together and to watch what is happening."

Some of the pieces include wood carvings, a wall hanging, a mosaic and photography, among other things.

"There's also some incredible digital imaging — where the whole thing was done with his computer," said Tony. "There is a range of mediums."

Mo said that the hope is that in about a year, another exhibition will focus on the work of younger children.

"From kindergarten through to Grade 6," she said.

The galleries program is run by volunteers, like the Rainbows, who fill several unique Squamish spaces with the work of Sea to Sky-based council-member artists. In addition to the Artisan, venues include the Squamish Adventure Centre, Squamish Medical Clinic and Black Tusk Realty.

The exhibitions are free to view and any funds from the sale of artwork go to the artist.

The artists are all members of the arts council.

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Pieces on display at the Artisan Gallery. - Jennifer Thuncher

"It is a great way to bring your art out of your studio and into the public eye," said Liebenberg. "There are so many reasons to create art; it can be a healing process, it could be a process of self-exploration, but when you are able to communicate outward, and show people what it is that you are thinking and feeling and working on — and it can create some joy or discourse or conversion — that is an incredibly important part of art. As young artists, what this program is doing is showing youth that their voices are important and people are interested in hearing what they have to say."

The galleries also allow people to connect during the pandemic.

Despite COVID-19, young Squamish artists have their time to shine_2
One of the youth pieces on display. - Jennifer Thuncher

"It is almost like a love letter from an artist's heart to the viewer. It is a way to see inside somebody's artistic process and inside their inner world. I think that has always been the case, but it feels more weighted and important right now," Liebenberg said.

Find out more about the program and how to be involved here:

The Youth Art show is on at the Artisan Gallery, which is located in The Artisan Building at 1336 Main Street.