By Vanessa Broadbent
When Emma Millward, 11, started painting when she was in Grade 2, she didn’t think it would only take four short years until her art work was on display in a gallery.
But on Thursday evening, Emma attended an artist’s reception for the new Winter White show at the Leza Macdonald Art Gallery, where 10 of her paintings were on display.
“I feel professional,” she said. “Everybody asks ‘can I take a picture?’ I’m like ‘sure!’”
Emma wasn’t the only student showcased in the gallery; photographs taken by students of South Okanagan Secondary School’s (SOSS) Grade 11/12 photography class were framed, hung and even for sale.
Lindsey McVicar, the art and photography teacher at SOSS, saw the show as a way for her students to showcase their work in the community, and also learn more about the process involved in exhibiting work in a galley.
“I really try to find ways to get my students out in the community and get their artwork shown because it validates what they’re doing,” she said. “It brings more importance to it.”
The show’s title is Winter White, a theme that McVicar’s students had a bit of difficulty incorporating due to the lack of snow this month.
“The students were not sure exactly how we were going to interpret that but we did have a little bit of snow fall about a month ago so we got a lot of pictures from Haynes Point,” she said. “After that all the snow melted and we didn’t know what we were going to do so we switched gears a little bit and took some Christmas props with us around town.”
The idea for the show was a product of Leza Macdonald, the gallery’s owner and curator, wanting to focus on art work being created by Oliver’s younger population.
“I decided that for December I wanted to showcase the children, the young people,” she said. “I love to give young people a chance so I contacted Lindsey and said, ‘look, what can we do together?’ This is what we came up with.”
Like McVicar, Macdonald sees an importance in giving youth opportunities to show their work in the community.
“I’ve been teaching young kids for a long, long time and I like them to have real life experiences,” she said. “And also let them know that art is a business, it’s not a flaky thing.”
However, the show features more than just local students; local artists Diane Gane and Linda Anderson also have work exhibited.
Winter White is on display at the Leza Macdonald Art Gallery, located in Beyond Bliss on Main Street, until December 24.