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Festival celebrates art in the Christian community

Written on January 21st, 2008

[caption id=”attachment_3481” align=”aligncenter” width=”300”]Winning Poster 2008 riversFS Students enter a poster contest each year for the next year’s festival (above is the 2008 winning poster).[/caption]

Students in Grades 7 to 12 are invited to participate in this year’s Fine Arts Festival May 14.

The festival, now in its fifth year, is organized by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and is held at King’s Christian Collegiate, an Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) high school in Oakville.

All students who attend Christian schools and are in Grades 7 to 12 are invited to participate. The day celebrates and showcases the visual arts from the Christian educational community.

“It’s a venue for showing their work and getting it judged, but also a venue for meeting artists and hearing a little bit about their story and seeing some of their work,” says Virginia Kennedy, executive assistant for ACSI eastern Canada.

In years past, a visiting artist presents to the students about who they are, shows some of his or her work, and then engages students with a hands-on workshop.

While this year’s event is still in planning stages, Kennedy says they hope to expand this portion of the day so students have a choice of three or four hands-on workshops.

Artist James Paterson has been involved with the festival since its beginning.

“I wanted to do something that would bring a sense that as artists their work was valuable in the Christian community,” he says. The gifts God has given the students, both artistically and visually, are gifts to be encouraged, he says.

The other important aspect of the festival is it is a venue for the students to be exposed to professional working Christian artists. Meeting the artists gives the students the opportunity to see art as a possible vocational choice and to see high quality work, Paterson adds.

Paterson says the festival encourages everybody in what they are doing and recognizes work of good caliber. The judges are working artists and awards are given for each grade in the different art categories. There are also four awards given regardless of age for 3-Dimensional work, 2-Dimensional work, media work, and the overall most outstanding piece.

The awards “see beyond the piece,” Paterson says, as they recognize different elements of the art including how it was executed or how the student solved the problem at hand.

Teachers are also invited to bring a piece of work for display. This creates a democratic, equitable way for the community to come together and learn from each other, says Paterson.

Reponses from the event are always that the day is very encouraging for both the teachers and students, says Paterson.

The categories of art include: painting – oil, acrylic, watercolour; drawing – pastel, pencil, ink; illustration (any work connected to a text, text need not be included) including comic book style; print making; 3-dimensional sculpture including low relief; calligraphy; folk art; craft; mixed media; photography – black and white; colour; media arts – video, digital, computer generated images, web design; and collaboration (group effort).

For more information, contact Virginia Kennedy by phone at 705-728-7344 or e-mail gkennedy@acsiec.org.