Student art featured on Palliser Christmas card

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School News

Division begins a new holiday tradition

Video version of this story below.

A Grade 10 student at County Central High School is sharing her passion for art and love of Christmas with Palliser Regional Schools. Her watercolour work, “Brilliant Tree,” is featured on the front of the school division’s Christmas card this season.

Chesley Baptiste said she created the stylized, colourful art to reflect her own joy about the holidays, and she hopes it makes others as happy as she was creating it.

“My passion is art, and I love it,” she said.

This is the first time Palliser student work has been featured on the division’s Christmas cards.

“It’s a great honour for us to be able to display student work whenever we get the opportunity,” said Palliser Board Chair Colleen Deitz, whose fellow trustees recently supported investigating other avenues for showcasing student works.

Baptiste said she’s been drawing since she was four years old, and she was encouraged by friends and family who’ve purchased some of her portraits.

As a child, she sketched designs of her future home. She’s also sketched models and her ideas for clothing.

“I would say my sketch book is a diary because if I’m having a sad day or if I’m not feeling like myself, I try to draw how I feel. If I’m really mad, I’m just sketching. . . At the end if it’s really good, I’ll be really happy and it will change my mood completely.”

Baptiste’s art teacher Mike Shain said he and art teachers from other Palliser schools, are exploring visual literacy in their collaborative work this year, in keeping with the division’s literacy focus.

For some students, sketching in class can help crystallize what they are learning, as they put concepts on paper. For other students, exploring the arts and experiencing success through art can serve as an “anchor” that helps keep them in school, Shain said.

He said the County Central art program started by offering very traditional forms of art, such as painting and sketching. The school has a kiln for ceramics, and over time, Shain has added a variety of other arts such as jewelry making and book binding, giving students an increasing number of choices to explore and express their own creativity.

The result is students choose to pursue what interests them, and that makes for engaged students, he said.

Deitz and Palliser Superintendent Kevin Gietz met with Baptiste at her school recently to thank her personally for contributing art to the division’s Christmas card. As a token of appreciation, Baptiste was given a gift card to an art supply store.

While this year’s pilot project was handled in partnership with County Central High School, next fall, high school art students across Palliser will have opportunity to submit work for consideration for the division’s 2015 Christmas card.