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October 15, 2016

Impressions of Time: Artists in the Classroom

Impressions of Time: Artists in the Classroom

Today's guest blog was written by teachers at Signal Hill Elementary in Pemberton, BC. Their creative project, supported by an Artists in the Classroom grant, forged strong bonds between different generations and enabled students to learn about — and feel a part of — their local community.

If this project strikes a chord with you, why not start a project of your own? Below you'll find 3 easy ways to get started with funding and professional development opportunities to help YOU activate learning through the arts.


Impressions of Time — Our Community was a creative art project designed to bring our small, rural, multicultural community together. It directly linked separate generations and expanded our sense of identity, community and history through storytelling and visual art.

The project began with a storytelling session for every class, delivered by seniors and elders from the local community. These storytellers had animated and fascinating stories from their younger years: tales of hunting for the Sasquatch, simple pleasures in times without electricity and running water, panning for gold, mountain climbing, logging, paragliding, the changing seasons ruling lifestyle choices and habits.

The first art session with Karen Love gave the students a chance to explore colour theory; challenged to see how many colour variations they could create with a limited palette. Then they sketched out ideas for their central image, considering imagery and symbolism.

"I encouraged all kids to step away from their fears and discover what painting is about, every stroke is history in the making, just like the stories they had heard."
—Karen Love, Artist

The second session allowed them to work into the base layer and develop and finish the subject matter. They were encouraged to explore mark making, layering, texture, colour wash and finally stitching some buttons onto the panels. The seniors were able to help out in some of these sessions, giving an insight into traditional crafts and how they were used a generation ago.

"Many of the children were fascinated by the challenges people faced in the past to get things done that the children take for granted now. They were also amazed at what the people went without and yet still seemed pretty content."
—C Siblock, Grade 3/4 Teacher

Each student's artwork was stitched together alongside their classmates into four large cultural banners which have been hung in the school. One of these will ultimately hang in the community centre to share with the local community.


Feeling inspired?

Here are 3 ways you can activate creative learning for young people...

1. Teachers and Artists — Apply for Artists in the Classroom Grants!

The project you just read about was supported by an Artists in the Classroom grant disbursed by ArtStarts in Schools and funded by BC Arts Council and the Province of BC.

Artists in the Classroom Grants bring professional artists into your classroom for unique learning experiences. Grants of up to $3,500 for small- to medium-scale projects or up to $10,000 for large-scale projects are available.

The next deadline to apply is October 17, 2016. Learn more and apply now at

2. Teachers — Register for the Upcoming Pro-D Day at ArtStarts!

Stand Out! Putting Learning on the Centre Stage through the Performing Arts is a full-day professional learning experience for BC teachers on Friday, October 21, 2016 at the ArtStarts Gallery in Vancouver. This event will engage your creativity while exploring arts integration as an approach to teaching.

Take part in two hands-on, skills-based workshops in the arts that aim to nurture your creative confidence: Page and Stage with spoken word poet Dia Davina and Physical Theatre in the Classroom with theatre artist Susan Bertoia. The workshops will be followed by a plenary conversation, facilitated by educator Leanne Ewen, on how we can immediately put these newly learned art skills into action in the classroom.

Learn more and register now at

3. Teachers — Apply for Funding to Support Your Profesional Development in the Arts

The Arts in Education Council of BC Fund offers grants to support teachers' professional development in the arts. Grants of up to $500 can be used to assist in the presentation or attendance of professional development workshops, clinics or seminars designed to increase the appreciation of the arts for K-12 teachers in BC schools.

The deadline to apply is October 28, 2016. Learn more and register now at

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