The class rooms were full of excitement and creativity on Wednesday at North Cavan Public school as Senior Kindergarten students took part in a special art class. After all, what could be more exciting than pallets of paint, paintbrushes, blank pages, a healthy amount of soap and endless possibilities ahead?
The epicenter of this excitement was, of course, Valerie Kent and her artistic enthusiasm. The subject of her classes was a printmaking process. The students were invited to paint images onto a soap-covered piece of Plexiglas from imagination or by using references. The paintings were then pressed onto a piece of damp paper and left to dry.
“I’m very impressed with what the kids came up with” Valerie remarked after setting up images and paintings to use as inspiration. Creating art with the kids is something Valerie especially enjoys. She explains that it is “important to expose them to things not encountered before and exercise right-brained activity”. As evident by the students’ abundant welcoming smiles and intense focus, the feeling was mutual.
Since moving to the area four months ago, Valerie has become involved in the community as the education director at Galerie Q in Cavan. For the past few weeks, she has been running art classes at North and South Cavan Schools as part of the outreach program at the gallery and plans to continue her classes in other schools until the end of March. She has found the students at both schools to be engaged, cooperative, motivated and impressively hardworking, polite and respectful of each other. She was also impressed by the quality of their artwork!
For a project like this with many youngsters experimenting with new things, Valerie particularly appreciated the help provided by the parent volunteers and the senior students who came to help with the younger ones. It helped the process worked very smoothly.
Currently, Galerie Q’s primary focus is on exhibiting the works of prominent Canadian artists such as those representing French Canadian culture and native artists. Valerie feels that it is important to support local art and is especially looking to meet local artists with work that is representative of the area and also some more contemporary work, such as abstracts. Some of Valerie’s work is on exhibition at Galerie Q and she will continue to paint and eventually teach and exhibit artwork at her studio in Cavan.
Valerie was initially drawn to the Cavan because of the beautiful scenery, nature and landscapes. Part of her personal art style involves painting a scene on smaller surfaces in nature, then painting an enlargement in her studio. Since moving, she has felt very welcome in the community and this, too, is very representative of the area. For more information about the artist, visit www.galerie-q.com or www.valeriekent.com.