Though the COVID-19 pandemic robbed many Semiahmoo Peninsula artists of opportunities to showcase their work over the last year, members of the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre have found a way to bring students’ art to a wider audience.
Last month, students and staff at the Learning Centre – led by student Desmond Tompkins and teacher Kama Money – held its first-ever youth art show at the 2320 King George Blvd. facility “after years of students showcasing talent within the arts.”
The show – which will run until Feb. 21, with COVID-19 protocols in place – features more than two dozen works of art, from students past and present.
“I have always been passionate about creating opportunities for youth in the arts. During the COVID-19 pandemic the arts community faced extreme challenges, and many youth were unable to be involved in community events that would allow for them to showcase their work,” explained Tompkins, who is a member of the Youth Arts Council of Surrey as well as Semiahmoo Arts.
“This, coupled with my ongoing awe in regards to the creativity showcased by my peers, led to me organizing the show.”
Tompkins “was honoured” to have the chance to curate the show, he added.
The prompt, or theme, for the artists taking part was “What does our school mean to you, and what does it allow you the freedom to create?” The prompt led to work that Tompkins said ranged “from the beautiful to political” and brought together “diverse perspectives from youth facing adversity.”
“As schools have lost opportunities for field trips and graduation events during this pandemic, having a show such as this was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate staff, students, and the importance of alternative education programs,” he added.