Carmangay student's art featured on Palliser greeting card

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Carmangay Outreach School student Maria Wall, with Palliser Regional Schools’ greeting card design, featuring her original artwork. The cards are sent out to Palliser supporters and friends.

CARMANGAY – Maria Wall is gaining a growing audience for her artwork.

The Grade 10 student at Carmangay Outreach School already has her talents on display in a mural dominating the office area at nearby Barons School. Now Maria’s work will be shared further with hundreds of other admirers via Palliser Regional Schools’ annual greeting card.

Her winning entry – featuring a dove carrying a global-themed tree ornament – was among more than 160 submissions from across the school division considered for the cover art on cards sent out to Palliser supporters and friends.

The showcase of student artwork resulted in a wide variety of visions of this year’s theme.

“Since it was ‘Peace on Earth,’ I thought it would be kind of cool if it had a dove, which represents peace, and it had earth around it,” said Maria, adding she enjoys the fact that art is open for interpretation. “There’s more than just what you see. There is a deeper meaning behind things too.”

Palliser Trustee Lorelei Bexte announced this year’s winning entry at a school assembly in Carmangay. Maria, who received a supply of cards for her own use as well as a gift from the Board, said the news came as a big surprise.

The trustee thanked all of the students across the division – old and young like – for their support of the annual project. Bexte also recognized the teachers who encourage such efforts and help hone those students’ skills and passion for the arts.

Among those was Michael Shain, Palliser’s itinerant art teacher who was at the assembly. He has taught Maria for the past four years, and said she has all of the qualities one looks for in a great student.

“What I like about Maria is that she always gives a really, really solid effort,” he said. “She always comes in with a positive attitude and she wants to learn. She’s eager to learn.”

Although her greeting card submission was a watercolour, Maria said she likes “pretty much anything art-related.”

Shain used Palliser’s greeting card showcase as the culminating project in his watercolour unit at Carmangay Outreach School. Although his emphasis was on technique, he said it is a bonus to be able to frame an exercise for students with a real-life application.

Instead of their audience being mom and dad, or perhaps classmates, the greeting card showcase provided a real opportunity for students’ work to be seen by a much wider audience.

“To make their work public like that, I think is a really powerful thing for students. It really brings out something artistic in them. They put an extra effort into it, and that makes it a really valuable exercise,” he said.

School Principal Fred Jack thanked Shain for always challenging his students to bring out their potential. Given the unsettled nature of global politics at this time, he said the theme of world peace is particularly relevant and urged his students to do whatever small thing they can to contribute to that.

See the gallery below for a selection of other greeting card submissions.