Painted panels to adorn the windows of the G. R. Pearkes Recreation Centre’s Gold Arena during renovations thanks to the hard work and creativity of a group of Grade 11 and 12 students from Spectrum Community School.
The installation is an example of art “from community, for community,” said Brenda Weatherston, community arts specialist for the District of Saanich.
The recreation centre has a longstanding relationship Spectrum Community School as many student-athletes train at the rink, and Saanich works closely with the school’s art department to host annual student art exhibits at the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre – although both the 2020 and 2021 installations were cancelled due to the pandemic – so a collaboration was fitting, she explained.
With demolition and replacement of the Gold Arena’s 53-year-old ice slab starting, the recreation centre was preparing to cover the windows overlooking the rink with the standard brown paper. Instead, staff proposed partnering with Spectrum to create artistic panels instead, said Sadeep Keram, recreation programmer for Pearkes.
He contacted Weatherston and she got the ball rolling with Moira Raynor-Atterbury, the visual arts teacher at Spectrum.
The goal was to reflect what community means to young people, Weatherston said.
After three weeks of work, on Monday, 27 art panels were installed – each a monochrome depiction of the artist’s interpretation of community. The individual pieces are snapshots into the teens’ worlds, but when you step back, you’ll see a bigger picture and a spectrum of colours, Raynor-Atterbury explained.
It was a positive experience for them in a year where all other art shows and events were cancelled, she said, adding that other than the theme and the on-colour requirement, students were given full freedom.
The result, was a series of panels depicting everything from dog walkers on Saanich trails and gathering spaces at Uptown Shopping Centre, to online communities and local landmarks – some quite realistic, others more abstract.
Keram said the installation will remain up throughout construction which is on track to finish in the fall. Access to the recreation centre is limited due to the public health orders, but Weatherston is hopeful residents can stop by to take in the art safely sometime over the summer.
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