Riley Cottyn

Colwood student art to get a big audience

Ceramic tile art on display in Vancouver for the summer

Art from some of Colwood’s smallest residents is being shown in the big city.

Ceramic tiles depicting the natural surroundings of the West Shore, lovingly created by students at Colwood elementary, are part of a summer-long exhibit in a Vancouver art gallery.

“It’s just so exciting that other people who aren’t in this little neighbourhood are going to see the art that the kids made,” said Renée Sala, director of Crafty School of Art, which facilitated the project here. “It’s an honour to have it chosen like that.”

Sala runs art programs in her studio and in schools around Greater Victoria, including a number on the West Shore. The ceramic tiles project is a common one for her to work on with classes. Once painted, the tiles will be collected to make a decorative feature for the school.

Colwood elementary’s project saw every student in the school, and many staff, create a tile for a planter box to be built at the school.

Sala gave the students a theme of their local environment – the natural features of the community which are important to them. They were taught the basics of working with clay and given free artistic licence to create whatever they wished within the parameters of the theme.

“I just thought of looking over the ocean and seeing the mountains,” said Grade 5 student Payton Douglass. “I like being able to do what you want with (clay), like designing it yourself.”

As a whole, the student’s tile project is called Building Community Through Clay.

The project is funded by ArtStarts, a non-profit organization offering grants to promote arts programs for young people. Twice a year ArtStarts hosts an exhibit in Vancouver featuring some of the best work created through the program for the year.

The 2014 theme for the show is Timescapes, focusing on local connections and natural indicators of time. Colwood’s focus was deemed a perfect fit and the organization requested that 60 of the student’s tiles be sent over for inclusion in the show.

“I picked the ones that were not all maybe the most beautiful, but the ones that stuck to the theme,” Sala said. “I’m so excited, I was really surprised.”

Once all the tiles have been returned after the show ends, Sala will incorporate them into four walls for the planter, which will be installed near the school’s playground on Wishart Road.

The work is displayed at the ArtStarts Gallery, 808 Richards St. in Vancouver, until Aug. 30.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com

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