While it sometimes seems that we can never really understand the teens we know, the Valley Youth Show currently at the Smithers Art Gallery is a chance to experience firsthand what might be going on inside some very creative young minds.
The show is a biennial event that features works from students from Houston to Hazelton. That said, most of the approximately 100 works from around 50 students attend Smithers Secondary School.
While some of the works might be what one would expect from a young artist, some works are simply incredible and show great potential. There are many different forms including some very well done pottery pieces.
Perry Rath has been an art teacher at Smithers Secondary for 12 years. He feels that there is a very strong creative element at the school in all of the arts: drama, music and art.
“There are some very creative kids. A lot of this comes from the families,” he said.
“I get to help facilitate their growth as artists. Some will go on. I just wrote some letters of reference to art schools for some kids,” he added.
Rath said that sometimes it’s easy to lose track of students but, “it’s exciting when they come back and tell you what they have been able to accomplish. There is a saying that the good student will surpass the teacher.”
He explained that it is helpful to feed the passion of the students. As a result, the senior classes are like an open studio.
“I’m there to help with suggestions and help them with their growth,” he said.
Rath also feels that it is critical to be aware of First Nations sovereignty and culture. Students can discovery personal interpretation of forms and develop connections with their culture.
“It’s been a great program over the years. It’s amazing to have Indigenous students and art within the school walls,” he said.
The show continues until June 16.