ST. ANDREWS – Students from Vincent Massey Elementary School and Sir James Dunn Academy will have their artwork adorn the Sunbury Shores Art and Nature Centre this month.
The exhibit will run Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., until June 18. Admission is free. Some of the artwork includes oil and chalk pastel painting, ceramics, drawing, prints and more.
Angela McLean, the director of operations, says that the “energy of the children” when in the Sunbury Shores studio is wonderful to see.
“Everyone is welcome,” she said.
When the New Brunswick government ceased funding for art programming in schools in 2005, Sunbury Shores decided they to art alive in the lives of as many Charlotte County students as they could.
They began a Children Learning Art at Sunbury Shores (CLASS) program that would offer high quality art education. The CLASS program has one stream for elementary students, and a separate stream for students in high school.
The celebrated instructors begin by teaching the youngest students the fundamentals, vamping up the curriculum as students work their way through their education.
The high school program runs for one semester a year on site in Sunbury Shores’ studios, whereas the elementary program instructors go into the classrooms, bringing students into the studios on an occasional basis.
“Instructors are thrilled to be a part of it … it’s very fulfilling,” said McLean.
Sunbury Shores contains metalsmith, ceramics, print making, and multipurpose studios that encourages creativity and ideas to come first.
Art education has a vast range of benefits, McLean says, helping improve and encourage focus, teaching observation, actively working to improve hand-eye skills, and boosting self esteem and confidence.
“During these challenging times, it’s more important than ever,” said McLean.
The CLASS program teaches the importance of copyright and sustainable sourcing of materials, because, as McLean says, “it’s especially important for students pursuing art professionally.”
The annual exhibit provides students with the opportunity to show their friends and families the projects they’ve created and worked hard on throughout the school year. The exhibit also provides students with a great sense of pride in something they’ve created.
“It’s always so satisfying to see,” said McLean. “It’s a great demonstration and reminder to the community how important (art) is.”
Due to the generosity of the Kiwanis Club of St. Andrews and other private donors, Sunbury Shores is able to offer the programming to the students.
Along with the student exhibit, Sunbury Shores has a line-up of 18 exhibits to look forward to in the coming months ranging from community groups to professionals. They offer 40 workshops for adults in the studios each year.
Dorothy Meigs Eidlitz founded Sunbury Shores in 1964 with the intention of bringing artists and scientists together, creating a space where art and nature could be appreciated simultaneously. Over its near 60-year history, Sunbury Shores has grown into a vital pillar of the community, offering students what otherwise would have been lost.
“It’s an amazing facility for Charlotte County,” said McLean.