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Ashcroft student’s work on display at Kamloops Art Gallery

Lillian Sandy’s schoolmates got to see some of her work during visits to the gallery in May
Artwork by Desert Sands Community School Grade 8 student Lillian Sandy on display at the Kamloops Art Gallery. (Photo credit: Submitted)

It’s not often that people get to see works by someone they know at an art gallery, but from May 8 to 16 students from Desert Sands Community School (DSCS) in Ashcroft had that opportunity.

Five groups of students attended workshops at the Kamloops Art Gallery, where they were able to see a display showcasing the work of one of their fellow students, Grade 8 student Lillian Sandy. The gallery’s school and youth programs coordinator, Kristen Gardner, says that the display came about thanks to DSCS principal Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith, who reached out to the gallery in advance of the workshops.

“She asked if we could display some of Lillian’s artwork, so that students could see her work when they came to the gallery. She said art is really important to Lillian, and it would mean a lot to her.”

The students were there for a tour of the gallery’s current exhibition, and Gardner says that after exploring the artwork and learning about the artist they took part in hands-on workshops related to the themes and materials the artist used. Because the exhibitions at the KAG are always rotating, students can come back each season and get a different art experience.

The display of Sandy’s artwork was in addition to the gallery’s current exhibition, and Gardner describes it as a “very one-off” situation.

“With the school coming on back-to-back visits we agreed, so that they could see art by someone in their community.”

Sandy says she has been painting since she was in Kindergarten, and that she gets inspiration from her father, who specializes in pencil drawings and sketches. Sandy — who is from Bonaparte First Nation — does sketch portraits, but also enjoys painting landscapes on canvas, and has done artwork on drums as well, combining her art with First Nations traditions.

“Sometimes I’ll paint at lunch if I’m in the right mood,” she says, “or in another class if I have time.”

Asked about the display at the Kamloops Art Gallery, Sandy says that Crooks-Smith asked her to bring in some works that she had done. “That’s how I found out about it. I’ve had a little bit of feedback about it. People think it’s cool.”

Sandy also enjoys doing digital artwork, and says that while she hasn’t planned out her post-secondary path, she would like to pursue a career in digital art, with a focus on animation.

“There are a lot of opportunities for digital art in animation and gaming.”