Cranbrook and District Arts Council welcomed 16 students from Golden Secondary School through their doors to explore the portraiture exhibition and get hands-on with a portrait workshop in charcoal, led by local artist Jim Robertson.
Tanya Hobbs and her students from Golden Secondary were the first school to take advantage of the CDAC’s school tour programming, travelling over two hours to participate. Helen Duckworth, the CDAC administrator has implemented an interactive program for visiting students and classes. Students were taken through a brief history of portraiture, participated in group critiques and examined their responses to what they saw.
“I designed these tours around models I’ve seen implemented in other art galleries, as I saw what they could do for youth in the community, and for local volunteers”, explained Duckworth. “The aim of the tours is not to bombard students with facts, the aim is to make art more relevant to youth again, to get them engaging with, and more importantly, just simply enjoying their art experience. We’re fostering art appreciation from a young age which is important to do with children and teens. This makes attending galleries and museums later in life less intimidating. I’ve had many discussions with people who’ve told me they don’t often go to galleries or practice art, because they know nothing about it, and that simply isn’t true. If you know that you like a piece of art (or don’t like a piece for that matter), then you know something about art.”
After analysis, sketching practice and critical thinking, students then moved on to a workshop where Jim Robertson guided students through portraiture basics, including how to achieve realistic facial proportions.
Volunteer docents are an integral part of the programming. Docents assist with the tour, and the Golden group were lucky to have four docents on hand, to add to their gallery experience.
Helen Duckworth looks to have volunteers leading the tours themselves eventually.
“When I first came to Canada I couldn’t work, so I made a career out of volunteering with local arts groups in Kelowna. My experiences as a docent at the Kelowna Art Gallery under the direction of Renee Burgess are some of my fondest. I met so many great people, artists, educators and children. I got to see and learn about art (for free!) and it was a great way to participate in my new community. I think I got just as much out of it as an immigrant to Canada who knew no one in the town, as the children did as students supplementing their art and culture education.”
School tours are available year round and can be catered to any age or developmental level. Tours are just $5 per participant, including all art materials and instruction.
Guest art instructors are not always available but each tour will also include a hands-on workshop portion.
Educators are provided with a teachers pack ahead of the class, so both students and educators can prepare and benefit fully from their visit. Classes and youth groups are welcomed, and special tours can be arranged for business activities, seniors and adult groups.
If you’d like more information, or to become a docent or volunteer artist instructor for the tours, please contact Helen via firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 250-426-4223.