Art provided the perfect opportunity for Chemainus Secondary School students to take their talents beyond the classroom and into the community to spread some Christmas cheer.
Students working with art teacher Rhona Kane went out for two days last week and again on Monday to dress up some of the windows at businesses around Chemainus as a gesture of kindness and a positive action during the holiday season.
The idea started with principal Lori Hryniuk’s desire for the community as a whole to see the students’ artistic abilities reflected in their work within the school.
“She thought we did such a great job in there we could spread it out in the community and do something nice for everybody,” said Kane.
“This is such a great positive news story for youth in our community,” Hryniuk pointed out.
“I contacted (president) Chris Istace and he got me into the Chemainus Business Association and it went from there.”
“They then sent out an email to all the businesses on our behalf,” added Kane.
One business, By The Bay Lavender, even offered a donation-in-kind in appreciation.
“We had 11 or so businesses that wanted to have it done,” said Kane. “We didn’t have enough time to get out to everybody, but we did our best.”
While the students were doing the work on site, “everybody that was passing by was just in awe of what they were doing,” Kane observed. “You could really see the community coming together.”
“It was fun,” said Grade 12 art student Crimson McClellan. “We got to go out in the community, meet some cool people. I don’t get to hang out in Chemainus very often because I’m from Thetis (Island).
“Painting the indoors is great. We would draw it freehand or stencils and put it up against the window. The shop owners loved it, really appreciative of all the decorations.”
“It was nice to discover the centre in Chemainus,” added Sarah Ladot, a Grade 12 international student from Belgium. “It was nice to use different techniques with paint, pen, different colours. I’ve never done that.”
Students teamed up previously for a competition to determine the best of the Christmas artwork within the school. Ashley Loeffen, Laura Rundquist and James Belanger were the winners by an overwhelming majority in a school vote for their Winter Wonderland display.
Now that the school has branched out, there’s a desire to do it again.
“It worked out so well,” said Kane. “With more time, it’ll be bigger and better.”