Students at École John Stubbs Memorial School work on their poster. The school’s poster will be one of nine produced by Colwood schools in the lead up to Canada’s 150th birthday. Clockwise from bottom left: Scarlett Van Dyk

Colwood students participating in birthday celebrations

Canada’s 150th being celebrated with art at local schools

Canada’s sesquicentennial is being celebrated at elementary schools around Colwood through an art project that aims to collect students’ favourite aspects of their country.

The City of Colwood is supplying the project kit to its nine schools, which includes a tree poster and other materials students will need to create the mixed-media posters.

École John Stubbs Memorial School was the first to get started on the project, which was run by teacher Mellissa Ryan and art facilitator Rebecca Barnard of the West Shore Arts Council.

The students who worked on it – from Kindergarten up to Grade 8 – decided it was important to represent not only their country on the piece, but their city and school as well. The ocean ended up being the primary focus of the piece, but students added French Canadian cultural symbols, such as the fleur de lis, as well as a tribute to the Canadian military.

“We’re a French immersion school, we’re located … where military housing is, and we’re close to the ocean, so those were the three things that we were focusing on,” said Ryan.

Barnard hopes Colwood’s various schools can produce posters that compliment each other, but don’t overlap.

“It’s my job to make sure that the Colwood schools do not all produce the same look. Even though they start off with the same poster, my idea is to have each of them have either a theme or a look, or something different,” she said.

Some posters might have a three-dimensional aspect to it, while others will be flat, Barnard added.

The idea to involve John Stubbs students in a wide age range might seem like a difficult proposition, but Ryan said the project went smoothly and that the older students were happy to help the little ones when needed.

“They did some sponge painting of some rocks and they were helping each other out with that … it was definitely a team effort,” she said.

The students’ efforts are being recorded and documented and will eventually be posted online.

And the national and even international scope of the celebration hasn’t been lost on the students, Ryan said.

“I think they were really excited to be a part of something that was happening nationwide. One of the things that I’m telling the kids is that this is a big thing. This is Canada’s 150th birthday and not only do you get to be in the photos and the videos, but people care … your face could be shown in China, Japan and India and all over the world.”

Sangster and Colwood elementaries are the next scheduled schools to participate in the project.


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