Lisa Bastien

“Artists of the Future” shine at Gibson Gallery



By Ron Giofu


About 100 students from St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School and General Amherst High School had an opportunity to show their art work at the Gibson Gallery the last several weeks.

The “Artists of the Future” exhibit closed Sunday with a reception where artists and their teachers stopped by to look at the exhibit.

“It’s a nice ray of sunshine on a cloudy day to see so many people come out to see the art,” said Lisa Bastien, one of two Villanova art teachers that turned out.

Bastien said about 70 students from Villanova participated. She picked out various works from first semester art students and came up with a variety of work to submit, though noted there wasn’t a competition. The students created acrylic paintings, water colours, sculptures, mixed media and more.

Jessica Dass, a Grade 10 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, stands with her work that was part of the Artists of the Future exhibit.

Many of the students came up with their own original ideas, she said.

“The students were encouraged to problem solve in creative ways,” Bastien noted.

The art program is thriving at Villanova, she continued.

“We have about 150-200 students going through the art program every year,” said Bastien. “The arts are alive and well at Villanova.”

Pam Burke, the second Villanova art teacher in attendance, said she was impressed to see the quality of work in the exhibit. She said it was fun for the students to be part of the “Artists of the Future” exhibit.

Burke said she was at the gallery a few days earlier and overheard people talking about some of the works.

“It makes you feel a sense of pride,” she said.

Some students enter high school stating they are unable to draw, but Burke added she sees the skill level in them. There were those with work in the show who previously believed they couldn’t draw at all.

“For me, it’s trying to get them confident in their skill level,” she said.

Sophia Fallea, a Grade 12 student at Villanova, shows her work during the recent Artists of the Future exhibit.

Andrea Craig-Wammes, art teacher at General Amherst, said there were about 25-30 of her students involved. She said she teaches 70 students this semester and had 120 last semester.

General Amherst students submitted everything from drawings and photography to sculptures and paintings. Craig-Wammes said she likes to keep art interesting for the students and makes choosing what gets into the exhibit part of the curriculum.

“It’s very important,” she added, of seeing the works on exhibit. “They absolutely love it.”

Craig-Wammes added she brought students to the gallery recently on a field trip so they could see the exhibit and experience the ambience of the gallery.

“We’re just thankful to be part of the show,” she said. “We’re just excited. Amherst keeps growing and a lot of kids are involved in the arts.”

The current exhibit at the Gibson Gallery is “Flashback: Threadworks 2016.”  It runs through May 13. The gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. in Amherstburg.

Gibson Gallery showcasing “Artists of the Future”



By Ron Giofu


Work of art students from a pair of local high schools is on exhibit at the Gibson Gallery through March 19.

“Artists of the Future” is the opening exhibit of 2017 at the gallery with roughly 100 pieces of work by General Amherst High School students on display with 200-250 pieces of art created by St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School also featured.

Jessica Dass sits beside one of her works that are exhibited as part of the Gibson Gallery's "Artists of the Future" exhibit.

Jessica Dass sits beside one of her works that are exhibited as part of the Gibson Gallery’s “Artists of the Future” exhibit.

“The Grade 12’s worked really hard to put this show together,” said General Amherst art teacher Andrea Craig-Wammes. “It’s part of the curriculum to get pieces ready for an art gallery.”

While the show features work from students in Grade 9-12, Craig-Wammes noted the Grade 12 students were the ones getting the pieces titled, mounted and ready to be showcased.

“They’ve put in a lot of effort,” said Craig-Wammes.

The work that came from General Amherst students was chosen either by the students or Craig-Wammes herself. Students didn’t have to have their work exhibited, but Craig-Wammes didn’t recall any student taking that option.

“They had the opportunity to deny it but everyone is excited about showcasing their work,” she said. “It’s a huge honour for them to have their artwork in a gallery and to be able to showcase their talent.

A wide range of mediums was used by General Amherst students from sculptures to painting to scratch art and more, with the Villanova students also displaying their talents through a number of ways.

“We have a lot of variety of work,” explained Villanova art teacher Lisa Bastien. “Our students are encouraged to think outside the box. They are posed problems and have to solve them independently.”

Concepts are presented to the students with students able to work with the concepts in their own way, Bastien said, adding they also work with the students on their technique as well.

Kyra Breshamer shows the artwork she created for the "Artists of the Future" exhibit at the Gibson Gallery.

Kyra Breshamer shows the artwork she created for the “Artists of the Future” exhibit at the Gibson Gallery.

Roughly 400 students per year enroll in Villanova’s art program with the show being much of what has been done in the first semester. While work is showcased in the school, exhibiting it in an art gallery puts a different context on it, Bastien added.

“It makes the kids feel important to have it in a gallery space,” she said. “I’m just really proud of the kids and the families who came by and supported them.”

The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. Their hours are Thursday-Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 519-736-2826, e-mail or visit