Artist Residency with the Creative Students of St. Aidan’s

St.Aidan’s Christian School has a family feeling that you can sense immediately when you step into the building. The relatively small number of students must be a part of the reason – everyone knows each other, from grade 5 right through to grade 9, something that doesn’t always happen at a larger school. For me personally, part of the reason is that I spent some time here last year. I got to know some of the students and staff. I was especially privileged to hear students share some of their writing – a deeply personal experience which I believe brings people closer together. So that’s one reason I felt at home last week during my one-week artist residency at St. Aidan’s.

The other ongoing reason that St. Aidan’s feels like a true community – a family – is that people really care about each other here, students, teachers, support staff, everyone – you can tell! Several times a day during my week there, different students would come up to me in order to tell me about something amazing…that another student had done or created! I thought this was very unique and special – that students were so proud of each others’ art and skills. In fact, because of this community atmosphere, we did more collaborative work than I have ever done or planned for another school – shared creative pieces that were wonderfully, amazingly spontaneous – in other words, the best kind of art! Written stories turned into comic strips created in pairs, personal stories were shared with the class told with zest and vivid description (and even with special photos brought from home), fictional characters were developed with words, then carefully and artfully sketched and coloured and posted in an impromptu class gallery, a discussion about the beauty of language and words turned into a session of sharing words in the other languages that we know, including sign language, a colourful class diorama became the subject of spontaneous tales – the week came alive with art and story according to plan and according to the moment (the best!).

I hope that during our time together, you all learned a little something about creating characters in fictional stories and have been inspired to consider writing as a way to express your creative thoughts – you certainly came up with original ideas!!! (Some of you also had great suggestions for writing activities, too which I really appreciated – and will be sure to use in the future!).

At the end of the week, I was presented with several special cards and artwork from students and teachers and vibrant yellow potted flowers to brighten up the -40 windchill weather (it’s beside me right now as I type!). I was also invited to attend chapel on Friday at lunch, a praise and worship service full of song and prayer. What a special time to share with you all after a wonderful week together. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms into your school family – all the very best with your writing and anything you do!

Till we meet again…
Karin 🙂