|VINCENT MASSEY COLLEGIATE STUDENTS EXCEL IN CANADIAN ARTS PROJECT|
MONTREAL, APRIL 23, 2013 - Over the past three months, a group of 74 Secondary II students from Vincent Massey Collegiate in Rosemount learned about the values of harmony and understanding through the creative process, in particular linocut printing.
The project was called “Illustrating Harmony” and was conducted under the auspices of ArtsSmarts, a Canadian art education organization that helps to promote different and innovative approaches to learning through the arts, in which teachers and local artists work together to establish special artistic projects with students. These projects incorporate the principles of learning engagement, student involvement, as well as inquisitive and active participation. Vincent Massey Collegiate’s version of ArtsSmarts was run by art and French teacher Rachel Thompson, student teacher Sarah Tremblay and local visual artist Talleen Hacikyan.
Ms. Hacikyan met with the students 12 times during the three-month period of the project, in which she gave them a history lesson on printmaking, explained the techniques of linocut printing and the concept of illustration. After that, the students were taught the process of how to do linocut prints, from brainstorming ideas, to doing preliminary sketches of their proposed print, to the carving of their design on a linoleum plate, to the inking and printing of their designs, many of which portrayed symbols of peace and harmony (such as the peace symbol and a dove), to expressions of universal positive messages. The students then made three copies of their prints that became handmade greeting cards, in which they sent to a member of their family, a member of their community and a person of their choice. Each card contained a personally written message that expressed their appreciation, love and good will towards their three chosen recipients.
The culmination of the ArtsSmarts project happened on April 9, when a special “Illustrating Harmony” exhibition took place at the school. Staff and faculty members, the participating students and their parents, and guests got the chance to see the end result of the three-month project. On display were the tools that were used in making the linocut plates, the actual plates, draft sketches of their designs, the final prints made by the students in both black & white and colour, as well as several live demonstrations on how the linocut printing process was done.
Michael J. Cohen