Two months, three artists and a lifetime experience.
The Midale Central School (MCS) received a part of the Artists in School grant through the Saskatchewan Arts Board. The school, in a small town located between two bigger centres, just didn’t have enough resources to provide art, cultural and heritage education to its students.
The grant enabled Midale’s school to bring in artists-in-residence, who involved the entire community into creative processes.
Simple with a Twist, a mother-daughter duet of Heather van der Breggen and Rickee-Lee Webster, came out of Weyburn. For a month, along with students, they were exploring visual art and multimedia.
A lot of people got involved with visual arts as the artists-in-residence set up a studio in the school and invited the community members as well as school staff and students to come and work together.
The other artist-in-residence – Carol Daniels, an aboriginal artist coming from the Regina Beach area – focused on visual art, music, theatre and Indigenous culture.
Midale Central School principal Cathy Harvey outlined the highlights of both residencies.
“At the end of both residencies, the kids had a big art show with Simple with a Twist, where they showcased their work. And with Carol Daniels, they had an art show, but there was also dances involved, and music and singing and First Nations’ cultural activities as well,” Harvey said.
The principal of the MCS stated that getting these two artists to become their residents was a great success. Not only did school students have the opportunity to experience things that they normally wouldn’t be able to in a smaller town, but also the staff got to learn a lot and got to work with artists to take that experience back into their teaching.
Besides, other residents of Midale got their piece of the pie by being involved with art projects as well.
This success was just the beginning of the artistic path for Midale Central School. As Harvey noticed, the school team hopes to get a more sustainable art program into place in the future.
“We actually applied for our second artists-in-residence grant. Ideally, what we’d really like to have is an artist that would have to live and work in our community for a year, because we saw a tremendous amount of growth and it also impacted kids’ mental health and staff’s self-concept,” Harvey stated.
The principal explained that the two-month art experience the Midale Central School had was great but short. So now they hope to receive a full Artists in School grant to make their vision of art education for Midale students come true.