Over the past year, the Fernie Academy has been collecting art work from projects throughout the year, and recently put them on display for everyone to see.
Every hallway in the school was covered with artwork, constructed by the hands of children from kindergarten up to grade 12. The majority of work on display was from elementary school kids, as the seniors have their own art shows throughout the school year.
The school years art curriculum was designed by Art Department head, Pepper Couëlle-Sterling, who has a degree in art history. Because of this, the art program is largely based on the history of art.
“It’s really important to me that the kids graduate and have an appreciation for art, and a history of it, where it comes from,” said Couëlle-Sterling.
For the grade 12 students who are soon to head to Paris, all this accumulated knowledge of art history will help them to identify some of the world’s most influential works of art.
“That’s the goal of this art program, from kindergarten to grade 12, is to develop an understanding and an appreciation of art,” she added.
Starting in kindergarten, youth are taught how to use tools properly, as well as some basic concepts of art. By the time they reach graduation, Couëlle-Sterling sees them as accomplished artists.
Children in second grade worked on Picasso flowers, and they also studied a print section.
Third graders took on a study of colour, and practiced this by creating watercolour butterfly’s. They also learned about symmetry through the use of tile mosaics. In addition, they studied French painter, Henri Matisse, and created birds in his style.
Grade two and three students practiced aboriginal art, both taking on the creation of drawn and crafted totem poles.
The grade four class learned about watercolour paint and how it interacts with salt.
Children in grade five created self portraits in the style of Picasso. They also underwent a study on modern art, and crafted figurative drawings as well as fish tessellations. The grade fives also created many works of art under their study of Islamic architecture.
Sixth graders created totem animals during their study of aboriginal culture. They were also taken through a study of Auguste Rodin, and created a three-part cross section of human anatomy; from the skulls, the muscles up to the face. Then, they created a 3D sculpture of a head, which they dabbed with bronze acrylic paint to give it a copper patina look. Students then made clay masks, focusing on their refined knowledge of the human face.
The youth in this grade also learned about motion, in relation to the human figure, as well as a study on ancient Egypt which had them creating hieroglyphics and funeral masks.
During their multimedia section, the grade sevens created drawings of household items to practice symmetry, as well as day of the dead masks to complement their Spanish course. They also took a voyage into Asian culture, where they created Chinese dragons. Students also learned about pastel work, under the theme of Canadiana art. During their painting section, they created embossed bicycles, made out of toothpicks, pipe cleaners and other items.
The grade eight class learned about modern art movements, the grade nines created aboriginal masks, and the grade 11 students created impressionistic art with life drawing studies.
First Nations art was present in some way throughout each grades curriculum. Several grades underwent a study of Monet, and then painted in his style. A study on South America also allowed students the opportunity to learn about and create South American molas. As well, a few grades underwent a section on primitivism, first learning about the cave art paintings in the Lascaux Caves. They then created their own rendition.
Couëlle-Sterling’s goal with her art program, outside of inspiring youth, is to give them a global understanding of it. This is why she aims to take kids around the world and back, through the study of art.