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Burnaby's Arts Alive exhibition goes virtual for 2020

School district, Burnaby Art Gallery have been teaming up to offer a student exhibition for the past 38 years - and they weren't about to let COVID-19 stop this year's edition
Arts Alive 2020, Burnaby Art Gallery
Artwork by Burnaby high school students - clockwise from top left: Leanne C., Grade 12, Cariboo Hill; Hans S., Grade 11, Alpha; Ivy. H., Grade 11, Alpha; Tiffany C., Grade 9, Moscrop;, Kaitlyn H. and Marium A., Grade 8, Burnaby North; and Minh Thu N., Grade 10, Byrne Creek - is part of the Arts Alive virtual exhibition now underway at Burnaby Art Gallery's website.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it looked like a longtime artistic partnership in Burnaby was going to have to fall by the wayside.

For nearly 40 years, the Burnaby Art Gallery and the Burnaby school district have been teaming up on an annual exhibition of student artwork, called Arts Alive.

This year, with the gallery unable to host an exhibition in person, the two groups worked together to take it online instead. Art teachers at all eight of the district’s high schools worked with the gallery to create this year’s virtual exhibition.

Thanks to those efforts, Arts Alive 2020 is now online at the Burnaby Art Gallery website, featuring 50 pieces of art from students in grades 8 through 12.

“We’re so proud of these talented students,” said school board chair Gary Wong in a press release. “The entire board is grateful to the gallery and district staff for their creative thinking to find a way to maintain our annual tradition during these unusual times and to publicly celebrate these incredible works of student art.”

Christina Froschauer, fine arts programmer for the gallery, said teachers, students, volunteers and administrators put a great deal of time and effort into the exhibition every year.

“We are elated that the exhibition could be featured online for everyone to enjoy, alongside an Arts Alive art activity – a new way for teachers and students to engage with the artwork,” she said.

That activity guide, which is available online, leads students through the elements of composition and asks them to consider those elements in relation to any piece of art in the exhibition. Then it asks them to create their own mixed-media work in response to the chosen artwork and share it on social media.

“Burnaby students are brimming with artistic talent; we are fortunate to feature student artwork for the past 38 years,” Froschauer said.

To see the exhibition and download the activity guide, see the gallery’s website.