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SD43 graduating students show pandemic-related art at new Coquitlam hub

The largest gallery exhibit in the Tri-Cities for graduating students is moving to a new venue. And officials with Place des Arts couldn’t be more pleased with Emerging Talent coming its way.

The largest gallery exhibit in the Tri-Cities for graduating students is moving to a new venue.

And officials with Place des Arts couldn’t be more pleased with Emerging Talent coming its way.

“Place des Arts is absolutely thrilled to be the new home to SD43’s annual Emerging Talent exhibition and to be part of the artistic journey for our community’s grade 12 students,” executive director Joan McCauley told the Tri-City News.

“Supporting youth and local emerging artists aligns with our organizational goals and values. We look forward to showcasing and promoting the work of these talented young artists.”

Previously held at Coquitlam’s Evergreen Cultural Centre, which has since changed artistic directions, Emerging Talent is a juried show that highlights the best artwork of Grade 12 students in School District 43 (SD43) — many of whom are currently applying to art schools across North America.

For Emerging Talent 24, organizer Robyn Croft — the fine and performing arts department head at Coquitlam’s Gleneagle Secondary — told the Tri-City News retired SD43 art teachers Sherida Charles (Centennial) and Melanie Stokes (Gleneagle) chose the pieces last Friday (Jan. 14) after artwork was dropped off by students attending:

  • Gleneagle
  • Port Moody
  • Riverside 
  • Heritage Woods

About 40 drawings, paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces will be on display in the Atrium gallery starting Friday (Jan. 21); the exhibit ends March 5. 

Croft said issues around the COVID-19 pandemic, including isolation, loneliness, escapism and catharsis, are major themes for this year.

“Students have found that art provides a space to cope with and explore complicated emotions in a creative and productive way,” Croft said.  

“There are many surreal and semi-abstract paintings that use gestural mark-making and confusing imagery to create a lively space for consideration of difficult feelings. There are also joyful and optimistic artworks, including works exploring personal identity and affirming and celebrating diverse identities, hopeful connections with animals and abstract rendering of musical sound vibration.”

Croft said Emerging Talent offers a portfolio boost for the students, most of whom have never shown their skills in a public place.

As for the audience, the exhibit offers an insight as to what’s happening on the local scene with youth art.

“It is a roadmap of the future and where our community is headed culturally,” she said. 

“Viewers will be intrigued by and connect with the many universal themes. They will be engaged by the unique ways in which ideas, issues, concepts and feelings are visually presented in a wide variety of materials. Young or old, perhaps they will be inspired to start or continue their own creative journey.”

Viewers can also vote on their favourite work for the coveted People’s Choice Award, which will be handed out at the end of the exhibit run.

The winner will see their artwork on the marketing materials for Emerging Talent 25.

Meanwhile, on Friday, Place des Arts will also launch two more exhibits: Modern Fine Art Photography from the Female Gaze (Lillian Liu) and Dames — Women With Stories (Raeanne Schachter). Both are up until March 10. 


Due to B.C.'s COVID-19 provincial health orders on gathering and events, the opening reception for the three exhibits is postponed until further notice.

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