Art is a medium for the artist to express themselves thus, it becomes something that is very personal. It is understandable then, that, artists would be nervous to share their work to the public as they make themselves vulnerable in doing so. Luckily, the Nicola Valley Arts Council exists to foster the artistry and creativity of local artists and this is evident through this month’s recently adjourned showcase of Merritt Secondary School’s seniors. The young creators had the opportunity to let their work shine in a very supportive environment.

Coming Home: the MSS Seniors Art Show, was the NVCAC’s community art exhibit for June. It opened on Thursday June 9 and ran until Sunday June 26 at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery. Students displayed their work from several projects done throughout the school year.

Shannon Dunn is the MSS arts teacher who coordinated with the NVAC to set-up the showcase.

“I think a big part of creating art is that you get the chance to share it with others,” said Dunn, who was thankful to the arts council’s Jano Howarth and Mischelle Pierce for helping make the exhibit a possibility. “It’s part of our communication.”

Dunn shared that there was hesitancy among her class when she first introduced the idea of a showcase.

“I actually think they were quite nervous when I proposed to do an art show as a class,” Dunn said.

“It took a lot of convincing to get the students feeling comfortable enough to show their work publicly but now I think they’re really excited to see their work up here.”

On Friday, June 17, the Arts Council hosted a reception at the gallery where Dunn and some of the young artists were present to see their works hung up and displayed.

“I’m really honoured but it’s also scary in a sense that art is very personal,” said Olivia Nendick, one of the artists present at the reception. “You’re showing the world how you feel and I think that’s really cool.”

Photo/ Izaiah Reyes

Nendick had a few of her works displayed at the gallery and they all focused on people.
Next to her work, were a collection of animal art work, created by fellow student Yollie Charlie.

“I like drawing animals,” said Charlie. “There’s lots of detail and expression that they have.”

Like Nendick, Charlie also felt initially intimidated by the idea of showing her work to the public.

“It’s kind of scary,” she described. “But now, I like that people are saying stuff about my art and it makes me happy.”

Photo/Izaiah Reyes

”The students have brought poignancy, fun, and thoughtfulness to their art expressions for this show,” said curator, Jano Howarth.

“The flower blooms beautiful and strong, just like I believe everyone in this school has.”

Dunn is proud of the MSS’ arts program, referencing many other projects that the school is looking to do including murals, bringing back the School District Arts Festival, and the school’s permanent collection where a committee funds MSS to purchase artwork from students to be framed and displayed on campus.

“We do lots of exciting things in the visual arts and I’m pretty proud of what our students have accomplished.”