Thursday, January 20, 2011

ArtWorks program wraps up with public art donation to Picton Library

Photo L to R: Tony Campbell, Heather Watson (Red Barns), Jamey Armstrong, Ashley Watson, Angela Capone, Lori Farrington (ArtWorks Instructor) present Barbara Sweet (CEO) with their piece “Bounty of the County” which will be displayed at the Picton Public Library

Prince Edward Learning Centre’s ArtWorks program ended in December, but students and staff joined together once more on Jan. 14 in order to present The County of Prince Edward Public Library and Archives with their finished art piece.

Early on in the ArtWorks program, students decided that they would like to put their creative endeavors to good use and donate their mosaic art to the Picton branch of the Public Library. “I love that our mosaic will now be a piece of public art, on display for a long time”, says Ashley, a student in the program. Angela, a student, adds, “It’s great that a lot of people will get to see it and hopefully enjoy it. We had a lot of fun making it. I hope people like it.” The piece, entitled ‘Bounty of the County’, will hang in a prominent spot in the library, a fitting home for an art piece made by students at PELC. “The students chose the library because they wanted a truly community place to hang their art. Somewhere it would be seen by a large number of people”, says ArtWorks Program Instructor Lori Farrington. “The Library was a unanimous decision. It seemed right on many levels, since a library and a literacy program share common goals.”

ArtWorks was a program that PELC ran in three segments last year, the final one wrapping up in December. Students learned different art genres, depending on when they participated. Jewellery, stained glass, blacksmithing, and finally mosaics were all studied. Students learned the art genre alongside Essential Skills, business, and interpersonal skills. Mandy, a student, says, “It’s a fun way to learn and develop Essential Skills that can be used in the workforce or in everyday life. I never thought of doing something like this before and I have been blown away at how much fun it is.” Jamey, a student, continues, “I didn’t even know what the Essential Skills were when I started but now realize that I’ve been using them most of my life and can recognize which skills I am best at, and which ones I need to work on.”

ArtWorks was an innovative program that allowed students the opportunity for hands-on learning. “Doing hands on learning gives each person the skills they need to go out into the working world with a positive attitude, it also makes them more confident they can do their job properly”, said Tony, a student. Part of the program was taught at The Red Barns Artisan Playgound on Old Chapel Road. There they were able to make mosaics, cutting the glass, and grouting their pieces on their own. Along with the group project, they were able to make smaller pieces for themselves. “It was pretty incredible watching the transformation from ‘I can’t make art’ to ‘look what I made!’ Heather Watson, at the Red Barns, was a vital part of the ArtWorks program”, says Program Instructor Lori Farrington. “It’s one of the best examples of community partnership we’ve been a part of and if we’re able to find funding to run the program again, we’d love to incorporate them into the plan.”

Prince Edward Learning Centre is an adult literacy and basic skills program funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities. “We’re a training centre, so that means we do whatever we can to help people reach their goals - employment, further education, or personal learning”, says Farrington. “At any given moment, we have someone learning computers, studying to write the GED high school equivalency test, working on job specific curricula, or just improving some basic literacy skills. We’re here to help everyone. There is no section of the population that we are not geared toward helping.” For more information on PELC, call 613-476-1811.

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