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High school art show highlights young talent

Published on

Cathy Dobson

You can’t help but pick up a wonderfully upbeat vibe when you go into the Lawrence House this month.

The annual Lambton County Student Art Show is on until May 28, featuring the best work this year from local high school students.

“The tone is very positive. You can see the students are using art to express themselves,” said Ian McLean, an art teacher at Northern Collegiate. “This show is celebrating what young people have on their minds.”

McLean, who is one of several high school art teachers helping with the show, said he had a submission to the show himself when he was in high school in the 1980s.

“It was a huge deal to get into this exhibit,” he said, adding that the teachers’choice award he received encouraged him to study painting at the University of Guelph the following year.

“It gave me a lot of confidence. Everyone needs encouragement.”

Susan VanVeldhuisen, the show’s convenor and an art teacher at S.C.I.T.S., has a similar story.

“I was a student in the show and getting chosen for an award was a deciding factor for me to go into visual arts rather than engineering,” she said. “I still have the painting that won and I keep it in my house.”

Teachers from six high schools across Lambton County collect the best of their students’ work throughout the year and submit the strongest and most creative for the annual show.

It’s been going on for about 40 or 50 years, said McLean.

This year’s event attracted a larger number of paintings, sculptures, prints, photos and mixed media pieces than most shows. Both floors of the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts are filled with students’ work.

Jurors Gary Nixon and Mary Groombridge, both professional artists and retired educators, selected the winners on May 7. The awards and closing reception will be held May 28 at 7 p.m. with the students on hand.

The top three winners were Emily Fraser (SCITS; LKDSB Rental Award, Junior); Brianne Ferguson (Northern; LKDSB Principals’ Award); Kendra Hoek (St. Pat’s; SCCDSB Rental Award).

Also on this month, is another students’ art show at Gallery in the Grove on Hamilton Road in Bright’s Grove.  It also runs until May 28 and features work from local students in Grades 11 and 12.


Do you know of any great cultural activities in our community that you think we should know about too?  Call Cathy Dobson at 226-932-0985 or [email protected].


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