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Burnt wood, digital painting: Grade 12 students in SD43 show their best art in 'Emerging Talent 25'

'Emerging Talent 25' opens Friday night at Place des Arts in Coquitlam, featuring dozens of original art pieces from Grade 12 students in School District 43.

“Imaginative” was the word that sprang to mind for judges when describing Emerging Talent 25, an annual showcase of the best of Grade 12 art in School District 43.

Last Friday, the judges — Melanie Stokes, Sherida Charles and Don Portelance — gathered at Coquitlam’s Gleneagle Secondary School to review more than 100 pieces submitted by students enrolled at seven district high schools:

  • Gleneagle
  • Dr. Charles Best
  • Terry Fox
  • Heritage Woods
  • Port Moody
  • Centennial
  • Riverside

Only the top artwork will be hung at Place des Arts for the milestone exhibition, which is being organized by Gleneagle art teacher Robyn Croft and opens on Friday night.

This year’s entries, created over the past year in class and at home, are presented in the usual media, such as paintings, charcoal and photography; however, there is also some art new to Emerging Talent, like embroidery, wood burning and digital art, that mostly expresses teen angst and social issues through a realism and surrealism lens.

“It’s more imaginative than before,” said Stokes, a retired art teacher from Gleneagle.

“Some years have been struggling, but I think this is a really strong year for the art.”

Portelance, a retired art teacher from Centennial who returned as an Emerging Talent judge after a 15-year hiatus, echoed her sentiments.

“There is some high quality," he said.

To qualify for the public gallery show, Grade 12 art students had to be continuing their education at a post-secondary art institution; according to many bios and statements attached to the art, several students are off to Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Displaying their pieces in a public setting “is good for them to get feedback and it’s good for their resumes,” Stokes said, adding, “I’m pleased that Emerging Talent has lasted for so long and it continues to inspire the art students in School District 43.”

The opening reception for Emerging Talent 25 is on Friday (Jan. 20) from 7 to 9 p.m. at Place des Arts (1120 Brunette Ave., Coquitlam) in the Atrium. The artists will be in attendance. Meanwhile, also opening on Friday is Creating Home/Ukwakha iKhaya, paintings and beats by Cyd Eva, in the Leonore Peyton Salon (viewing times limited); and Alchemical Transformations — acrylics, oils and mixed Media by Louise Bunn — in the Mezzanine gallery. The three exhibits are up until March 9, and online from Jan. 27 to March 9. Visit for more details about the three shows.



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