Riley Windrum loved the arts as a child.
Drawing, painting and creative expression have always come naturally to the Belmont student. But in the last year or so, the 18-year-old Highlands resident says, the arts have become something more.
Much more than just a hobby from her youth, she sees a potential lifestyle in her future. Windrum is not alone, joining a group of more than 100 West Shore students exhibiting their work in Denouement, a student-led art show opening Wednesday (May 13) at the Coast Collective Gallery in Colwood.
“I’m excited about it. It’s a great opportunity for all students to show off their hard work throughout the year, show off what they are producing and what they are passionate about,” Windrum said. “It’s a good opportunity for everybody.”
Students from Belmont secondary, Dunsmuir middle school and the West Shore Learning Centre show their skills in artistic mediums including three-dimensional graphics, photography, sculpture, drawing and acrylic and oil paints. Belmont art teacher Carly Groot said these works, from the hands and hearts of students, illustrate more than just their passion.
“The visual arts is just one (thing) giving students a way to express themselves,” she said. “It isn’t just a talent and a hobby, but a way for them to go through life and overcome challenges. Our room is a key place where they can relax and get their thoughts out on the page. They can take time out from the challenges they are going through that day – the art room is a great place to let go, feel comfortable and explore.”
Groot said the students have pushed their boundaries with works she called “amazing.” Those taking in the show will be rewarded with a variety of pieces that will not only speak to those who aren’t necessarily art lovers, but offer an opportunity for student voices to be heard.
“We have amazing, talented artists that are going to go far with their career, develop and pursue art colleges,” she said. “We want to show our student bodies’ work and make those community connections, (and) advocate for the arts and our arts programs and the talent we have in our student population.”
Windrum, whose painting entitled “Muerte” – the Spanish word for death – adorns the poster for the show, loves the work of Robert Bateman and Vincent Van Gogh and enjoys drawing with graphite and painting with acrylics and oils. She plans to pursue animation one day and also hopes to see the public take a chance and support the students at their show.
“It is a collection of the heart, work and passion of students pouring all their time and energy and love for art into these pieces,” she said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to maybe see something you haven’t seen before; appreciate some work you probably wouldn’t have a chance to see anywhere else.”
The show runs until May 17. Coast Collective is open noon until 5 p.m. at 3221 Heatherbell Rd. A special awards ceremony and artist meet-and-greet happens there Thursday (May 14) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. For more information visit coastcollective.ca.