| May 30, 2018

Essentially, the first-ever GREC Expo held at the education centre in Sharbot Lake Tuesday was an opportunity for elementary students to see what the secondary students do in the arts through a series of workshops. And it was also an opportunity for the secondary students to “show off” a bit and since family members were also invited, maybe even sell some of their artwork as well.

“It’s designed to be participatory,” said art teacher Valerie Allan, one of the organizers.

To that end, primary students got to participate in workshops for ceramics, music, journaling, slam poetry (a competition of spoken word poetry) and even a drop-in centre for board games.

And for those that weren’t that interested in artistic pursuits, there was a field trip up to the St. Lawrence Employment Centre to check out its Job Fair.

Vice-principal Kristin Stevens said, “the suggestion for this came directly out of student voice, the program where students are asked what they’d like to see at school.”

One of those students was Vanessa Pagniello-Renfrey, although she denied having much of an influence.

But she did benefit from the art display in the main foyer, selling one of her paintings.

“I paint, I sketch, do pottery, photography for nature scenes,” she said. “But I didn’t really have much to do with this going on.”

Regardless of who was responsible, it gave students a chance to experience selling their art (painting, graphics, ceramics, jewelry) and displaying it. For the Grade 1/2 class, it was their first art show.

Allan said there were other benefits too.

“Sometimes people think that smaller rural schools don’t have the opportunities that larger schools have,” she said. “But we do offer a lot of things in the arts that even the larger schools don’t.

“So we thought we’d try this — just like a first try.

“It allows us to showcase certain classes and we’ll probably learn a lot from it.”

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