Local francophone students revealed a mural representing both their Rossland and francophone identities on Thursday.
The students at l’École des Sept-sommets spent the last nine months — from concept to completion — working on a mural in collaboration with local artists Stephanie Gauvin and Soleil Fleming.
“We worked a lot on this and identity and how students live their own francophone identity — through their family, through the community outside the school, how they relate to other francophones,” explained Marie-Josée Beaulieu, principal.
The project was funded through Artists in the Classroom, a grant program offered by ArtStarts, which is in turn funded by the BC government and the BC Arts Council. One of the goals of the grant is to “expose BC’s young people to professional arts experiences in the classroom.” The students at Sept-sommets got to experience working in collaboration with two professional artists.
Gauvin asked Fleming to help her out at the beginning of the project and was happy with how Fleming was able to facilitate the collaboration.
“Usually I’m used to doing my own project, so I was ready to come here and paint with the kids, but telling them how we were going to do it, because that’s what I know,” said Gauvin. “But Soleil came in and she had the idea of actually asking the children for the drawings and doing their actual drawings — child-like drawings — on the mural, and so every bit of the way was participation with everybody.”
“The kids all made individual drawings that represented their community, what they felt they wanted to see on a mural and what would make sense,” said Fleming.
The drawings were then put into Photoshop and Fleming worked with the students to decide what should go where. The finished layout was projected onto black boards and the kids traced the outlines in chalk. The students painted between the chalk outlines using colours that they custom mixed with Gauvin.
“From three colours we made all these colours together,” she explained.
Then the chalk was washed away to leave black outlines between the paint and textures were added to finish it off.
The finished mural can be seen outside the main entrance to the school.