Paintings by Coast high school students are being showcased at the Sunshine Coast RCMP detachment in Sechelt through a new art program, the first of its kind in Canada.
The local detachment developed the art program as a way to reach out to teens, inviting them to submit works of art through their teachers to be put on display.
The artwork will change periodically throughout the year to give all students the chance to show off their talent.
Art students from Pender Harbour, Elphinstone and Chatelech secondary schools and the Sunshine Coast Alternative School have been invited to take part in the new project, which was launched last month.
“We wanted to showcase the talents of the youth. Some of their artwork is pretty amazing,” said Const. Kevin Shepherd, who is the youth intervention officer for the Sunshine Coast RCMP. “We’re reaching out to the kids and letting them know that we appreciate their talents and we’re letting them be seen.”
Shepherd said three paintings by Chatelech students have already been sold, although that wasn’t the original aim of the project. People who saw the paintings displayed at the detachment asked Shepherd if the students would be willing to sell their works of art.
“For one of them I contacted the art teacher and they talked with the student and they decided on a price of a couple hundred dollars,” Shepherd said, noting the sale meant a lot to the student involved.
While there is no specific theme teens must stick to, Shepherd said any artwork displayed at the detachment must be “suitable for all ages, from three to 83,” and “not too shocking.”
The art is displayed on the walls behind the main counter at the RCMP detachment, with student names clearly visible, and Shepherd said he’s happy to help facilitate future sales of artwork if more members of the public are interested.
He encourages students who want to participate in the program to talk to their art teacher or to Shepherd himself, who visits high schools regularly each week.
Shepherd said the detachment intends to continue with the program as long as students and teachers are interested.
“We have no plans to stop,” he added.