Gallery in the Park’s annual student art show is underway through Saturday inside the Schwartz House in Altona. Students from Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, W.C. Miller Collegiate in Altona and Morden Collegiate have pieces on display, covering a wide variety of mediums. 

"I prefer visual art over everything else, because I just find it's a way I can express myself freely without having to be judged, or told 'This is wrong' or 'This is right," shared Miller Grade 9 student Meeka Atkinson who has five pieces in the show, and is participating for the first time.

Three of those pieces, which feature an original cyberpunk style character inspired by a song Atkinson heard, include several different media types like pencil crayons, paints, paint pens, crayons and markers.

"I feel, if you just know one style, it's okay, but if you know a vast majority, you can showcase all your talents," she said.

Another piece she has in the show is an acrylic painting titled "Misunderstood".

"It's a Mako shark being caught in a fisherman's hook," said Atkinson. "I called it 'Misunderstood', because it's kind of funny how we think of sharks as these big predators known for bloodshed, and so I thought I'd put it in a flipped perspective, like they're the one being caught and we're the predator."

Atkinson's painting "Misunderstood"Atkinson's painting "Misunderstood"

W.C. Miller Collegiate art teacher Jill Ferris has been involved with the student art show for years, and is encouraging everyone to come check out the different works.

"For example, we have Morden who does a specific oil painting series on a specific size canvas, and just seeing what kind of topics they explore is quite unique," she explained. "Just how each teacher, each class, sort of approaches their learning, so these drawings are done in a different way, depending on what the media is. Downstairs we have M.C.I., and they did some really cool dragons out of pottery clay, It's just neat to see what other people are doing, and what kinds of subject matter and media kids are exploring."

Ferris loves seeing families come through the door who have never been to the gallery before, and their child having the opportunity to shine.

"Maybe they didn't play sports, or do certain activities, but here they have an opportunity to present what they're doing, and the family is so proud," she shared. "Just creating that opportunity where people will come that have never been here, I think that is probably one big take away."

Ferris was particularly heartened ahead of this year's show with how many students proactively approached her wanting to have pieces involved, noting there were also a number of students who hadn't been in art classes for quite sometime who also offered up pieces for display.

Even though the Schwartz House is currently under renovation, the building is still open to the public and the front door is accessible.

You can listen to CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show Host Chris Sumner's conversation with Meeka Atkinson, below.