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Teen Artists Curate Exhibition Showcasing Summer Youth Programs at ECU

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Shot by Chris Chow

By Jenn Xu

Posted on August 05, 2022

The exhibition is the culmination of the Summer Institute for Teens + Junior Art Intensive 2022.

Take a step into Emily Carr University’s campus and you'll be dazzled by an exhibition of drawings and paintings blanketing the gallery walls. Sculptures and models fill the open spaces while interactive media and animations project on infinite loops.

While the art on display is exceptional, so is the average age of the artists with many hailing from local and international middle and high schools.

The exhibit is now on display to the public until Monday, Aug. 8, 2022.

About the programs

The Summer Institute for Teens (SIT) is an immersive pre-university program taught by professional artists. Over one-month, students build their portfolios and prepare for the next steps in their creative careers.

SIT offers students training in a variety of disciplines, from painting to game design - the newest curriculum to be added. The program empowers students through the development of technical skills while they explore new ways of expressing themselves creatively.

“We encourage students to have fun with the process,” said Maria Cecilia Saba, Manager of Youth + Community Programs. “This focus on playful creative exploration shows in the final works, as each work feels very genuine, fresh and exciting.”

While developing their creative vision, students learn how to think critically and offer constructive critiques for their peers. Vjeko Sager, an artist and long-time lecturer at ECU who taught the SIT Drawing studio this summer, notes that through risk-taking and pushing beyond their creative limits, students experience “breakthrough moments” that provide them with a “new perspective on higher education, assisting in making future decisions and goals.”

The Junior Art Intensive (JAI) builds foundational knowledge while emphasizing skill development and the creative process, and helps prepare younger students for the Summer Institute for Teens. In this two-week program, students explore 2D and 3D art-making, completing a variety of projects in drawing, painting, animation and soft sculpture.

The programs culminate with a public exhibition of student work across the Michael O’Brian Exhibition Commons. The professionally installed exhibition in ECU Gallery Spaces recognizes students' learning and development throughout these intensive programs, and signals ECU's dedication to supporting art and design education for youth.

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Shot by Chris Chow

Visitors to the Summer Institute for Teens final exhibition: Architecture + Environmental Design Studio

Preparing for the show

From the start of the program, SIT students have an active voice in the direction of the final show. Students are encouraged to join the planning committee to help decide on the exhibition name, the layout for each studio and the show’s theme.

"The installation period is very special because you finally get to see all the works they’ve created in their studios,” said Maria Cecilia. “It’s always mind-blowing to see how much they’ve accomplished in such a short time.”

The final moments of the show preparation were met with high energy and excitement felt throughout the studios. On opening reception day, 400 visitors including family, and friends came out to support and celebrate this milestone.

What to expect

"I believe visitors will be impressed by the vibrancy of projects and sincerity of personal explorations," Vjeko says of the inspiring range of works. “While looking at the students' works, they will ask: ‘Which one of these youngsters are going to become important or maybe even famous in the future?’"

Join us in celebrating the accomplishments of over 170 talented young artists and designers from now until Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. From paintings and illustrations to architectural models, visitors will be greeted by expressive and experimental works that are sure to inspire.

Can’t make it to the in-person show? Look out for an online exhibition which includes digital images of the work from the in-person show, as well as work by students from the online sections of JAI + SIT. The online exhibition launches Aug. 26, 2022 here.

Interested in joining the next cohort of summer youth programs?
Summer Institute for Teens (SIT)
Junior Art Intenstive (JAI)