A grade ten student at Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook has been spending much of his spare time over the past several weeks working on an exciting project for the Cranbrook Arts Council.
As many in the community know, the arts council purchased a building on 5th Avenue in 2019. The building has since been renovated and a brand new gallery space has been created. As the gallery gears up to open to the public, once restrictions allow, movable art display walls will a necessary addition to the space.
These walls have been the latest project for MBSS student Owen Graham, who has spent most of his lunch hour breaks over the past weeks framing and drywalling the giant six foot walls.
Once complete, the arts council will use the walls in their gallery to display artwork. They will also be used for storage, as the design includes a door on one side and a hollow centre. They are on locking casters, so they will be able to be used in a variety of configurations.
Graham says this is the biggest project he has ever taken on, and he is proud to be able to contribute to the arts council.
“It has been an interesting project, by far one of my coolest projects, and I’m happy to contribute to the arts council,” Graham said during his lunch break on Thursday, Feb. 3.
Jennifer Humphrey, long-time board member and volunteer for the Cranbrook Arts Council, commented that she was thrilled when instructor Jon Eberhard agreed to bring his students on in this community project.
“They are contributing to a great new amenity for Cranbrook and we look forward to seeing them in the new gallery when it opens. Cranbrook Arts is very grateful to the students, their teacher, and Mount Baker School for making this happen,” Humphrey said.
Eberhard adds that he’s proud of his students, and it’s great for them to be able to contribute to a community project.
“It’s nice to see students working on a community project, and something outside of the typical projects that they take home,” Eberhard said. “It didn’t cost Owen anything, and it will be out in the public for many people to see. He’s clearly proud of the work he’s done.
“I’ve worked in the trades and this type of project is so rewarding to work on. It’s nice to finish a project like this.”
Graham agrees. He says he’s learned a lot along the way and now when Eberhard gives him a task or directions for something, Graham can clearly picture in his head what needs to be done.
He’s had a few helpers along the way, including guidance from Eberhard, but for the most part, this has been Graham’s baby, so to speak.
“I framed in the walls and installed the drywall top to bottom. I’ve done the mudding and taping which is fairly new for me,” Graham explained, adding that he has some experience in the industry. “I’ve done a little bit of framing, in this course and helping my grandparents out.”
Graham has had the most experience with drywall, helping his dad after school and working long hours on the weekends. He says he hasn’t run into too many challenges with this project other than logistics, like lifting or moving the walls alone during construction.
Graham says it has been a rewarding process and he’s excited to see the walls in action once the art gallery opens.
“I love doing this kind of work,” he said. “Thank you to the arts council for the opportunity.”
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.