Students from Nechako Elementary School have collaborated with local artist, Rebecca Mason, on a project replacing the old panels outside of the school.
As the panels were made more than five years ago and are becoming weathered, the District of Kitimat provided money to Kitimat Arts for Youth who then hired Rebecca to work with Miss Scott’s grade six class and Miss Gueguen’s grade six class on the project.
“We put a call out on social media but chose Rebecca because we needed someone who could instruct as well,” Louise Avery, director of Kitimat Arts for Youth said.
Mason is a pastelist and graphite artist who tries to capture the beauty of the northwest through her art.
“Each piece I make, I try and capture a little of enchantment that I see in everything that surrounds me,” Mason stated on her website.
Unable to mix classes because of Covid-19, in April, Mason virtually engaged with both classes to ask what the students wanted the project to look like.
After brainstorming, Mason and the students came together to have one mural with whales in it, for an ocean theme, and another one with bears and mountains in it, for a land theme.
Mason sketched out the outlines for the students and then helped the students, two at a time, complete the project.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to be part of such a great project. I think it is so important to encourage community projects that highlight the arts and that get so many involved especially our children,” Mason said.
“It was an honour to be a part of this project and I’m thankful for the opportunity and to all who helped make it happen. To the teachers who helped organize and students who so willingly participated! It wouldn’t be possible without them.”
Finishing up the project in June, the students will add a clear coat on the murals for better weather protection.
“I think they were a little nervous to start it at first, but they were really excited and liked the end result because they got to see what they can do as a group,” Nechako Elementary School teacher Lis Stannus said.
Back in 2015, Kitimat Arts for Youth funded a similar project, where students collaborated together to design a tree mural, which also hangs on the exterior of the school building.
Kitimat Arts for Youth has been an advocate for performing and visual arts for youth in Kitimat since 2005.
“I think it is so important to nurture creativity in our children and for all of us really. To slow down every now and then, to truly appreciate the beauty around us, to be moved by it. Art has a beautiful and profound way of helping us to find a sense of calm and to refocus,” Mason said.