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Kindergarten and College students team up for Tandem Art Exhibit

working in tandem

Kindergarten students from Northeastern Elementary School have teamed up with Cambrian College’s Design and Visual Arts students to create a collaborative exhibit of visual work with a focus on what they could do to help the environment.

Aptly called Tandem, the exhibit will be presented from Monday, May 13, 2019 to Thursday, May 16, 2019 from 11 am to 2 pm at the Open Studio in Room 2119 at Cambrian College. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm.

The inspiration for the project came from Cambrian Art and Design professor and local artist, Johanna Westby, and Celeste Ovens-Lamothe, French Immersion Kindergarten Teacher at Northeastern Elementary School who presented their first Tandem exhibit in 2017.

They wanted the children to experience what it would be like to be artists in a real studio. The Design and Visual Arts students at Cambrian College engaged the Kindergarten students in a discussion and helped them to illustrate their thinking using a variety of media.

The college students, in turn, produced their own art, inspired by the children’s creations. Northeastern parent and local photographer Amanda Sharp captured the level of engagement in black and white images, a stunning photographic journey of the creative process. Some of the photos were also taken by the educators in the class who documented the journey.

The outcome provides a colourful expression of big ideas.

“I wish a fire planet would just come by and suck up the garbage so the animals won’t die,” observed Cooper Phene. Khloe Potvin added: “The bees. I’m going to help the bees. They fly back to make honey. To the beehives.” And Vienna McDonald concluded: “I wonder how it’s going to turn out when it dries up.”

According to Johanna Westby, “Art is a powerful and universal form of communication. An artist can express feeling and emotion purely with colour, line, form, etc. Anyone can be affected by art, and can have an emotive reaction to what they are seeing.”

She adds: “Perception of art depends on the individual, meaning that depending on one’s experience, memory, mood, or aesthetic value, art can be interpreted in unlimited ways. Visual expression allows an artist to create a story with visual language – a form of communication that affects everyone, regardless of level of understanding. With this project, the children’s interpretation of the statement created a fresh perspective of the story that could be told, allowing the Design and Visual Arts students to explore unexpected elements and paths in their final work.”

For teacher Celeste Ovens-Lamothe, who led this project with Designated Early Childhood Educator Julie Paquette, Tandem provided the Kindergarten students with an authentic artistic learning experience.

“They had the opportunity to work with artistic role models, and to further perceive themselves as artists. They reflected upon a big question. The answers that our students gave were thoughtful, creative, and beautiful. Many students made connections with the world around them.” She adds: “The results of this project continue to exceed our expectations.”


Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171, ext. 7217.