The class, taught by Liisa Amirault, saw students work with a variety of media, including acrylics, watercolours, sculpture, pastels, charcoal, and ink and pencil drawings. Art history was incorporated into lessons and students then practised the techniques that were discussed. The students also learned to recognize elements and principles of art in the works of their classmates.
“Our art class was scheduled at the end of the school day as a way to help students relax. It appeared to be very therapeutic for the students and allowed them to express themselves and boost their self-esteem,” said Amirault.
Amirault, who has a background in various art media, created a connection with the students by showing work she did when she was a teenager. With that foundation in place, students created various art pieces using inspiration from their own life experiences. Some reflected on their First Nation background or stories of their culture passed down by grandparents.
“I was very impressed with the quality of the art the students created. You could see the individuality in each collection and you certainly saw the pride they had in their work,” said Superintendent of Education, Rose Burton Spohn.
The REACH Program has been operating now for a year and a half at Holy Angels. The program is intended to meet the needs of secondary students who are in risk and who benefit from a more intimate learning environment.