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Teenage Artists and Adult Mentors Collaborate in ORIGIN: AN ART SHOW

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
July 27th, 2012

One of the most important reasons Nelson is an arts town is the quality of mentorship provided to youth by adult visual artists and performers. The opening of Origin: An Art Show on July 27 will give Nelson residents an example of this. 

Young artists in Self-Design High’s Summer Art Intensive get to spend several weeks full-time studying and practicing art in a real studio. They are mentored by real artists, and then put up a real show, in a real gallery. They learn how to put up the show themselves—everything from artist statements to lighting to what to serve for refreshments at the opening. And they get four high school credits for it.

In the first two years of the program, the young participants have reported feeling the elation and the anxiety of being set free, artistically, to do what they want (with expert guidance). And by having their own gallery exhibit, they’ve experienced being taken seriously as artists by the public.

The Nelson Daily visited the studio at the Oxygen Art Centre on July 26, one day before their gallery opening, and took the photos you see here. Self-Design High has provided us with the following description of the program and this year’s show.


Now in its third year, SelfDesign High’s Summer Arts Intensive has grown to include jewellery work alongside of pottery, stone carving, sculpture, digital and visual arts. All of the separate approaches to art-making are united by the theme; Elements – Water, Fire, Air and Earth as well as by the art exhibition opening on Friday, July 27th at the Oxygen Art Centre. This year’s intensives were generously supported by a CKCA grant from the Columbia Basin Trust.

Soapstone Carving and Pottery

Guided by mentor, Diane Walters at eARTh Art Studios, learners used materials from the Columbia Basin to create their work. For soapstone carving, they used Duncan Lake Greenstone and turned a rock into a piece of art. During ceramic sculpture and pottery, youth were guided through the process of understanding the chemical and geological forms and processes of clay through making art forms. Using primitive firing techniques in a kiln building and sawdust firing, youth were involved in every part of the process. Youth showing their work are Poppy Herbison, Alex Lambert, Danan Lake, Raven Truth, Coby Delfiner, Jayme Campagna, Sasha Baines, Ana Seed, Senna Andison, Aiden Myles, Sojourn Anisesoleil, Kiya Chernoff and Sarah Graeme.


The Jewellery workshop, first time ever offered at SelfDesign High by mentor Susan LeFebour, brought a new experience to learners in creating metal wearable art. Using basic jewellers’ equipment, learners had 9 weeks to explore handwork with two projects: riveting and a handmade link chain. Jewellery artists are: Ana Seed, Dalilah Hindley, Poppy Herbison and Sasha Baines.

Visual Arts Intensive

The visual art intensive this year included painting, typography, drawing, sketchbook work, assemblage, printmaking and street art.The first two weeks of instructal workshops were led by mentors: Anita Levesque, Laurryn Ashbell, Krista Lynch, Deb Thomson and Amber Santos. Touchstone curator Jessie Demers, has been leading the second two weeks of the intensive in preparation for the exhibition at the Oxygen Art Centre, where the young artists, in residency made work for the final show. They are also taking on the role of co-curating the entire exhibition that includes their peers’ work in pottery, soapstone carving and jewellry. Youth artists are Ashley McLaughlin, Carrie Kilbourne-Quirk, Kyra Popoff, Ruby Moore, Sasha Baines, and Vaughn Preninger.

Learners Sasha Baines and Kyra Popoff describe their experience and invite you to the exhibition:

“We are six young artists who collaborated over the month of July to create an exhibition with a variety of styles and mediums. At the beginning of the month, we were given the theme of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. With these four elements in mind, our pieces were created. The title of our show is called “Origin” because we felt that these elements took us back to our individual interpretations of where we began.

The word Origin has many different meanings to all of us; where does it take you?”

Click to expand. Photos by Bill Metcalfe


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