The South Cariboo Arts and Culture Society donated $500 each to Peter Skene Ogden Secondary (PSO) and 100 Mile House Elementary schools to support their art programs.
Barb Brown, volunteer gallery director for Parkside Art Gallery said they used to give PSO individual scholarships but it was after Penny Reid, the elementary’s indigenous support worker, brought the elementary schools’ indigenous celebration of art to the gallery that the board decided it was time to help a wider program.
The gallery has had a few shows from the elementary school. Last year is the first time the indigenous program was displayed at the gallery. They tried once before, but COVID-19 intervened.
“The students did all this incredible work and we had it in the gallery for a while then the board decided it was time to start helping the younger ones,” she said.
This is the third year PSO received a donation and the first year for 100 Mile Elementary.
Lianne Heales, the visual arts teacher at PSO, said she and her students have held shows at the gallery for the last three years.
The donation is earmarked for art supplies as costs have gone up significantly since COVID-19, she said.
For a lot of high school kids, this is the first time they get to start doing things like painting, scratch art to a bit of sculpture with plaster.
“Even today there was a moment, where I had a kid who took some material into another room to work when he was done his work and he came running back into my class at the end of the day and he’s like ‘I’ve never tried this before, always wanted to try it’ and he was so proud of his work. It was working in ink and it is just that opportunity to try new things that they wouldn’t normally get, that’s what the extra funding does for them,” Heales said.
Reid said she is not yet sure how to use the donation. Possibly for supplies as well.
“I’m not quite sure yet where this is going yet. We may have a presenter in, I don’t know,” she said. “We’re very grateful.”
Brown said the connection between schools and galleries is an inspiration for the students. Somebody cares enough to support them in what they want to do and it is just inspiring for them to be supported in the community.
“I’m glad that we can (recognize them), Brown said. “I’m really pleased that the board is in a position where we can afford to give back to the community and to the young. One of my favourite things from 10 years as director. I love it when I get students in the gallery,” she said. “My heart just sings.”