Gallery in the Grove isn’t open to the public right now because of COVID-19 restrictions, but that’s not stopping the volunteer-run art gallery from holding its annual student art show.
This year’s show of work by local high school students will be juried by art teachers and then the selected pieces will be shown online on the gallery’s website, www.galleryinthegrove.com.
“We’re adapting, that’s for sure,” said Kirsty Kilner-Holmes, chairperson for the gallery located upstairs at the Bright’s Grove Library.
April 30 is the deadline for students to enter work through the gallery website for the show, which will run May 10 to June 15.
“We originally moved into the virtual online art world in the middle of our Faces, Places and Spaces exhibition,” Kilner-Holmes said about the recent show that opened in March at the gallery turning 40 this year.
Work in that juried art show was displayed on the gallery’s website.
“We thought, ‘We could do this again,’” Kilner-Holmes said.
Gallery members reached out to Ian McLean, a Northern Collegiate art teacher who helps organize the annual student show, and he checked with the other teachers at local schools.
“Within a couple of days, he got back to me and said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Kilner-Holmes said.
Students will send an image of their work with the application for local art teachers to review as they select work for the show.
“On May 10, we hope to do a kind of a live, virtual, online exhibition opening to celebrate art students across Lambton County,” Kilner-Holmes said. “I think more than ever our students need the support and the opportunity to exhibit their artwork in a public atmosphere, which is something we’ve always encouraged.”
Traditionally, Gallery in the Grove has hosted an annual show of work by senior high school students, and a show for work by students in other grades has been held at the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts in Sarnia.
This year, because of restrictions temporarily closing art galleries and other venues, the Gallery in the Grove’s online exhibition will be open to submissions by Lambton County high school students in all grades, Kilner-Holmes said.
She said the gallery is “a team effort,” and praised efforts by Leanne O’Brien and Gwen Moore to see the online student show move ahead.
“The student exhibition has always been fascinating,” Kilner-Holmes said. “We see interesting mediums” often including multi-media work.
She said the gallery is also planning to include some images of work from its Visiting Artists in Local School program that sends artists into Grade 6 classrooms.
Those artists were visiting local classrooms right up until schools were closed by the restrictions, Kilner-Holmes said.
Instructors in the program are also going to provide projects they were taking into schools to be posed on the gallery’s website for families looking for activities for kids now at home, she said.
The gallery also plans to continue awarding scholarships this year to local high school students going on to college and university, she said.
That annual scholarship program has awarded more than $120,000 to local students since 1992.