An art centre known to showcase some of the region’s most prestigious talent refuses to miss out on its younger potential.
Six Alberta High School of Fine Arts students and 24 at Black Diamond’s Oilfields High School are among 68 high school students showcasing their creations in the Leighton Art Centre’s YouthWorks 2020s: photo-synthesize exhibit, on display until Feb. 15.
The students, as well as those from two Calgary schools, have been invited to attend an opening reception at the centre Jan. 11 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to talk to the public about their work.
For Alberta High School of Fine Arts student Oakley Baikie, exhibiting at the art centre is an opportunity to get their work into the public eye. Baikie had their work on display in a youth exhibit in Fort McMurray three times before moving to Okotoks.
“I really wanted to do something in and around this area because I’m new,” Baikie said. “I thought this was a good opportunity to broaden my horizons.”
The Grade 12 student, who has been accepted into Lethbridge University’s technical theatre and design program, painted a bouquet of smiley face balloon on large Bristol paper for the exhibition.
“I like doing realism and larger portraits,” Baikie said. “I wanted to challenge myself with something with more detail.”
Baikie’s teacher Michelle Smyth said the six Grade 11 and 12 students who opted to participate created outstanding work.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to showcase their work, present to a wider audience and they have the possibility to sell their work,” she said, adding two pieces will be for sale.
Oilfields High School teacher Wade Westworth encouraged his high school photography students to enter the exhibit after learning about it from a parent who works at the centre. Twenty-four students entered a framed photograph each.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase the talents that we offer in the photography program and give them a sense of accomplishment that they have actually learned real world skills and the quality that needs to be displayed,” he said.
Grade 11 student Hayley Brough submitted a photograph she took of Lundbreck Falls while on a school field trip because of the detail of the water.
“It’s a really great opportunity to show what people do, especially young people, and bring a lot of beauty and detail in the world to pictures,” she said. “I just find photography really relaxing. It’s such an easy habit to get into.”
Lindsay Corbet, manger of exhibition, events and volunteers at the Leighton Art Centre, said it’s important to expose young art students to how galleries work – including how to prepare and submit artwork for exhibitions.
“It’s a way of just getting exposure for young art students who would like to take it more seriously in the future,” she said.
For this year’s theme, Corbet said the centre left it up to interpretation.
“They can put their own twist or spin on it,” she said. “It can be taking a piece of photography and basing the artwork on that or interpreting it in their own way in an abstract or contemporary kind of way.”
The Leighton Art Centre is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.