LaSalle Elementary’s Art Expo Glows Brightly

by Dan Mullins

The annual LaSalle Elementary Art Expo took place this spring, and has garnered some truly glowing reviews. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the show itself was literally glowing. 

In a large section lit by blacklights, students excitedly moved from work to work, exclaiming when they saw their own art or that of their friends and siblings, and showing off their glowing bracelets and temporary tattoos.

The theme of this years’ event, appropriately enough, was “Illumination After Darkness.” It was inspired by the renewed flowering of creativity and community after the restrictions during the past two years.
“This year we cried many tears of joy watching everyone, staff, students and community, come together in a space of joy and light,” writes Marie-France Fitzgerald, Art Teacher at the senior school, who is the force behind the long-running tradition of Art Expo.

“We started Art-Expo about 15 years ago with the intention of creating a local museum space for students to showcase their works annually. The students now look forward to it and can develop and create projects based on what and how they would like to represent and express themselves.”

The show features several pieces of art from every student attending LaSalle Elementary, from both the Junior and Senior Campuses. Totalling over six thousand individual works, from small drawings to large collaborative paintings, collage, sculpture, and photography they completely cover the walls and fill the interior space of the building’s gymnasium.

“It is heartwarming to see younger siblings from the junior school search for their older sibling’s artwork at the exhibit,” notes Ms. Fitzgerald.
The school’s staff cooperate to make the enormous display a reality. It is a large task, but the opportunity to work together as a team is both a happy social experience near the end of the school year, and a chance to further increase their cohesion as a group.

Ms. Fitzgerald holds up a one-of-a-kind art frame, collaboratively made by the staff of LaSalle Elementary, which will be auctioned to raise money for the art program.

Principal Maria Pan expressed her enthusiasm for the exhibit, which also raises money for the LaSalle Elementary art program, and helps fund next year’s event.

Ms. Pan said that she was impressed with the process and thrilled by the outcome. “It’s a great community event. Ms. Fitzgerald gets so much from the students. I just try to be as supportive as possible,” she says.

The importance of process is also something that Ms. Fitzgerald pointed out. “One of the elements I love about Art-Expo are all of the experiential photos that accompany the artwork,” she explained.
“Art is not about the product, but rather about the creative process, therefore seeing the photos of the students that were taken while they are painting, or have their hands covered in clay adds to the essence of Art-Expo.”

One might think that after the huge Art Expo project, Ms. Fitzgerald, Ms. Pan, and the rest of the staff would be ready for a break. But no. There was another major event almost immediately afterwards. Next up! The Craft Fair.

Click here to see photos of that event on LaSalle Elementary’s Facebook page.

The Art Expo was also featured in a CTV News segment listed in the Pearson News’ Press Review, which you can see here.

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