Richard Tetrault

Studio 101

Today I got to help some Grade 6 & 7 students as they painted light and shadow under the direction of artist Bernadine Fox. In fact, all of Williams Clark studios was hopping this afternoon, as more than 50 students from Queen Alexandra school in East Vancouver learned arts skills from painting to printing-making to calligraphy to textile art, all free and all thanks to a program called Studio 101.

The Eastside Culture Crawl underlines the relationship between a thriving artist population and the diverse community of East Vancouver. The Crawl strives to give back to the community too, and Studio 101 is one way this happens. Studio 101 began four years ago, under the direction of Richard Tetrault,  Katherine Youngs and Mira Malatestinic, who originally came up with the idea. They wanted to find a way to inspire kids about art and the artists in their own community.  This program first goes into the school and prepares the students for the experience they will have in an artists studio .  They are given Artist Trading Cards that describe the artist's creative process and biography.  Then students from one school within the Culture Crawl boundaries spend an afternoon at the studios of six or seven different artists in a single building in the Crawl, where they will participate in an art project created by the artists. They finish with a unique piece of artwork to take home. Finally, each of the artists submits an artwork to the school, the students view the artworks and then vote on which one they would like to hang in the school. The piece of art selected then becomes part of the school's collection and is paid for by the program.

Division 4 of Seymour School in my studio (thanks to Andrea Wilks for the photo)

Studio 101 benefits the students, since they get to see art-making going on in their own community as well as having a chance to do something completely different with their artist/teachers. The teachers also seem to enjoy the opportunity to explore the studios and meet the artists. And the school benefit from having an artwork for their permanent collection. The artists benefit from a chance to work with children, which is always energizing, and they receive a small stipend for the work, as well as payment for their art if it's selected.  The Culture Crawl fundraises to provide the financial backing for Studio 101.

Presenting my painting with Richard Tetrault

Last year, Studio 101 took place at my building, The Mergatroid, and I was one of the lucky artists who taught a class. The kids walked the five blocks from Admiral Seymour School, and then took part in making books, clay works, paintings and in my studio, crazy multi-media works not unlike my own! I was also privileged enough to be selected as the artist whose artwork went to the school. I can tell you, it's the highlight of an artist's life when you stand in front of the end of year assembly and get to hear a whole school oooh and aaah over your painting. My painting, Go Canada Go, is now hanging in the school hall and I hope it inspires one or two kids to reach for the brightest colours in their paintbox.

Go Canada Go! (Can you find the hidden Canada maps?)