Students discover joy of art
IT MIGHT pay to make a note of the artists in this year's ARTSmart exhibition at Lismore.
Give them a few more years and some could be the North Coast's next big thing.
The primary school artists that feature in the exhibition were hand-picked from public schools across the entire North Coast for their talent in the visual arts and their potential to succeed.
All took part in the ARTsmart program, a three-day intensive workshop for 10- to 12-year-olds that develops art techniques and results in at least one major work.
The program involves more than 70 primary schools that select a handful of their most-gifted or interested students to participate.
Workshops are held at various locations across the region throughout the year.
Program co-ordinator Jamie Hoile said the workshops allowed students to focus entirely on art for a sustained period of time, to be engaged and to build their confidence and self-esteem.
He said there was plenty of fun and laughter involved, which helped to instil the joy of art.
The program also gave students from smaller schools - which may not have strong visual arts department - access to an advanced art-skills program.
This year, more than 250 children took part in an ARTsmart workshop and more than 150 of these have an artwork in this week's exhibition.
This year's works are overwhelmingly bright and vibrant, according to Mr Hoile; filled with colour, detail and elaborate design work.
"The first thing you'll notice is it's not a drab exhibition. It's saturated with colour."
He said it was a buzz for the students to see their work on display, as for many it was their first exhibition in an "adult" community gallery.
The ARTsmart program, partly funded by the Department of Education and Training, is now in its third year.
The exhibition can be seen all this week at the Next Gallery, 89 Magellan St Lismore.
The opening is from 4pm-7pm tonight.