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High school artists prepare pieces for month-long NorVA exhibition

Hapnot Collegiate art students will soon have the chance to show off their work at the NorVA Centre in a month-long exhibit.

Hapnot Collegiate art students will soon have the chance to show off their work at the NorVA Centre in a month-long exhibit.

Hapnot and the gallery are joining forces to host “Straight Outta Quarantine”, a collection of high school art projects from throughout the year.

The show, which features pieces by Grades 9-12 artists, had a soft opening May 2 and will start in earnest with a grand opening May 5. As many as 40 artists will be featured in the exhibit, which will run throughout May.

“There’s about seven different projects being represented. There’s a whole bunch of different media,” said Amanda Krouse, Hapnot art teacher and one of the main organizers of the show.

“There’s a Grade 9 and a Grade 12 paint project - for some of the Grade 9s, it’s some kids’ first exposure to paint ever, whereas for the Grade 12s, they’re like five foot square paintings, they’re quite large and they stretch them themselves."

The pieces themselves stretch across a wide variety of media and techniques. Copper foil pieces will be on display, along with perspective drawings, charcoal and contact drawings, pencil sketches and a selection of abstract digital pieces.

“It kind of runs the gamut of everything,” Krouse said, adding that much - but not all - of the work is what the students produced in class.

“About three-quarters of it is coursework. There are about six kids that approached me and said, ‘Hey, can I put this in that I did earlier this year?’ We were encouraging that. It’s mostly coursework, but some kids have their own stand-alone pieces.”

Krouse said some of the most engaging pieces are the Grade 12 painting projects. Aside from a basic set of guidelines, the students were permitted to go to town, with surprising results.

“The Grade 12 canvases will blow you away. They’re quite large and they have been working on this project for over a month and a half. It was a project, but they were basically open-ended - the only limitation they got from me was that they had to develop their own palette. It’s a palette of five colours and they are limited to those five colours,” Krouse said.

“They’ve done their own write-ups. They’ve developed their own subject matter. I didn’t ask them to be super deep, but they’re all deep and dive into their experiences. They’re just phenomenal and I think those will definitely stand out.”

When a plan to exhibit their work at a gallery was first mentioned, Krouse said some of the students were hesitant to start, with others thinking the gallery showing would be a type of competition - leading their teacher to have to set them straight. The gallery and class now plan to make the event an annual tradition, with Krouse saying it has served as a confidence boost for the students.

“A lot of the kids were afraid at first - they really didn’t want their stuff to be visible. I’m very emotionally committed to these kids and their work, so I encouraged them. At this point, I’m just overwhelmed with pride,” Krouse said.

“Even some kids who are very introverted and maybe don’t want to show their work - I’m really encouraging them and they’ve allowed us to display it. It’s great to have them hear the acknowledgement and praise that I know they deserve.”