Photo and story by Matthew Horwood
The Cornerstone Housing for Women got a dose of colour last month thanks to Nepean High School students.
The shelter received two paintings, titled “Complementary Flowers” and “Balanced Bouquet”, which were created by 52 students from two Grade 9 classes during the spring semester of 2019.
As part of the classes’ unit on colours, the students learned about colour theory, how to transfer images using grids and how to mix acrylics together. Using these skills, each student painted 1/25th of an image to fit onto a canvas, culminating in two 40” x 50” paintings of flowers.
Suzanne Amenta, a visual arts teacher at Nepean High School, oversaw the students’ work. She said the school reached out to several locations to inquire about gifting the paintings. Her hope was that the students would “feel empowered by making a positive difference in the lives of others with their hard work and with their artwork.”
Pei-Ju Wang, community developer of Cornerstone located on 373 Princeton Avenue, was more than happy to take the artwork. Over the summer, the paintings were hung on the second floor of the building, along with plaques listing the student artists’ names.
On September 27, Cornerstone and the school held an art reveal, with three students attending. The majority of the artists were marching in Ottawa’s Climate Strike, held on the same day.
At the reveal, Amenta congratulated the students on their hard work and collaboration on the art pieces.
“This is not just like a test, where you get done and move onto the next thing. The work you guys did is having a positive ripple effect on people,” she said. “There’s such a reward in giving, and I want you to feel good about this and remember that feeling.”
Terri-Lynn George, manager of Cornerstone’s Princeton location, said the paintings were “something small, but really a very huge thing that brings a lot of joy to our house. We appreciate your talents.”
Tim, one of the students who attended the reveal, said it was “definitely rewarding to be able to present it here, and it makes us feel good”. Another student, Miles, agreed, saying while creating the paintings was a long process, it was “good to see the results”.
Elizabeth Craig, a Cornerstone resident who attended the reveal, gave thanks to the students for creating and gifting the painting. “A lot of us women have been through a lot in our lives, and this will bring peace to us,” she said.