The glistening waters of the Cheakamus River and lush vegetation of the surrounding old-growth forest provide the perfect serene environment to explore creativity.
"There is something really meaningful and beautiful about being able to take kids outside to harness their artistic expression," said Daylen Luchsinger, Education Coordinator, Artists for Kids.
This year marks the 25th year for the Artists for Kids Paradise Valley Summer School of Visual Arts hosted at Cheakamus Centre in Squamish. The program combines the ideal location of the Cheakamus Centre with top-notch artists for a five-day program for eight to 18-year-olds. Students are paired with a professional artist who presents on his or her work throughout the week. The students work with art specialist teachers to make art of their own in response to the presentations from the professional artists. There are also blocks of recreation time where the students go canoeing, hiking or sketch the gorgeous scenery that surrounds them.
Once again this year, the program sold-out with 104 participants.
"There's a new appreciation for a really strong arts foundation because it supports student learning in so many ways," said Yolande Martinello, Director, Artists for Kids. "And, it's five days in paradise!"
To celebrate the 25th year, student work from the week was on display throughout the Cheakamus Centre grounds. Multimedia art was hung from wooden walk-path railings and paintings were propped against trees. The buildings were transformed into galleries with art of varying styles, shapes and colours. Parents were invited to join the students for a celebration reception.
"These young artists were amazing. They took risks and created beautiful work," said Martinello at the celebration event. "I think everyone this week has grown – not just the kids, but also the counsellors and adult staff."
"Thank you to all of the kids. You are amazing artists and it was a pleasure working with you and I learned so much from you," said Justin Ogilvie, Artist in Residence for the senior students at the program.
"I have been inspired so much from the students. I'm excited to get back into my studio. Thank you," said M.E. Sparks, Artist in Residence for the junior students at the program.
To find out more about the Paradise Valley Summer School of Visual Arts, visit: http://www3.gordonsmithgallery.ca/Artists4Kids/Programs/PVSSVA/Pages/default.aspx