Over a hundred students at Palgrave Public School sat attentive in the school’s gymnasium at the start of the day on Tuesday, October 15th, the first day back after the Thanksgiving weekend. Surrounded by camera equipment and floodlights, the kids were abuzz with excitement as world-renowned local artist Cory Trépanier and DAREarts Founder & President Marilyn Field were introduced by Principal Laurie Johnson.
As Marilyn took the stage to introduce the DARE2draw program, smiling images of the youth of Webequie First Nation flashed across the screen behind her. She spoke to the students about how these youth are facing challenges beyond anything most Greater Toronto Area families have encountered: marginalization, extreme poverty, a lack of available schooling, minimal access to healthcare, and very limited opportunities. The lack of hope in these communities is endemic. Marilyn’s voice is somber, but she quickly changes the tone when she turns to the students and tells them, “YOU are capable of making a difference for these kids who are just like you.” The students would be making DAREarts cards – cards that are sold to raise money for the DAREarts First Roots program, where we work with remote communities to use the arts to empower youth on their journey to becoming confident, hope-filled leaders. Also, the presentation was being filmed as a template for other schools across Canada interested in the DARE2draw project.
Cory Trépanier then took the stage, bringing a dose of the Arctic with him as his presentation showcased video footage and photographs of his journeys into Canada’s breathtaking north, Into the Arctic and TrueWild. The presentation allowed students to follow Cory’s travels to national parks and communities as far north as Ellesmere Island, just a short (800km) trek from the North Pole. His warmth and enthusiasm was infectious; the Arctic didn’t seem all that cold, after all. None of the students were looking away – a hundred sets of eyes and ears were locked in as Cory told tales of arctic wolf encounters, polar bears, the vastness of Canada, and of course, Icebergs.
“Our students were spellbound by Cory’s images and stories of his travels as a northern artist. Such a rare and great opportunity for them to get up close and spend time with a Canadian artist and participate in the work that DAREarts does.” Wendy Wilson, Art Teacher, Palgrave PS
A DARE was put out to the students: We want to see your icebergs! From there, a whirlwind of drafting began, pencils to paper, smiles, and laughter.
“Your’s looks like a rhinoceros!”
“Mine looks like a floating mountain!”
“I don’t know what mine is yet…”
“Mine is finally… An iceberg!”
Not all of the students were practiced young artists, but for what they lacked in skill, they made up for tenfold in heart. They were drawing for kids that are just like them, reaching out to show that they care and that they want our students in the north to have all the hope and courage in the world, and that they are thinking of them.
DAREarts would like to extend very heartfelt thank yous to Cory, his incredible wife Janet, videographer Rick Boston, the staff at Palgrave Public School, and especially to the students for lending us their leadership and artistic talents!
To buy DAREarts cards and support kids helping kids, CLICK HERE.
To register your school for the DARE2draw program, please click here.
The video created from this session will be shared with other schools across Canada so they too can join the DARE2draw movement!
Call 1-888-540-2787 to sign up!