(From left to right): Assistant fire chief Chad Gartrell, visual arts teacher James Elwood, and arts students Hilary Page, Emily Frank, and Hailey Monro. (Central Okanagan School District/Contributed)

(From left to right): Assistant fire chief Chad Gartrell, visual arts teacher James Elwood, and arts students Hilary Page, Emily Frank, and Hailey Monro. (Central Okanagan School District/Contributed)

West Kelowna art students inspired by frontline workers

Mount Boucherie Secondary art students create pieces to thank frontline workers

Mount Boucherie Secondary art students found a source of inspiration in frontline workers after an eventful summer marked with intense wildfires and protests against public health orders.

Visual arts students wanted to thank the West Kelowna firefighters who were involved in protecting homes and communities during the Mount Law wildfire, as well as Kelowna General Hospital staff who continue to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

“I have always found our teenagers to be well-versed in gratitude,” visual arts teacher James Elwood said.

“Creating art is a very personal expression for young people and we felt that individual pieces of art as an expression of gratitude would be both profound and enduring.”

Over 250 students at Mount Boucherie started off their school year by picking a medium, style and subject. Then they went to work, creating pieces that they wanted someone else to have.

On the back of each piece, students wrote notes of gratitude, as well as telling them about the art piece. According to the school district, some students wrote anecdotes about how afraid they were to return home to Glenrosa, fearing their house would be gone, while others wrote how grateful they were for the care their loved ones received from health care workers despite the stress they’re under.

West Kelowna Fire Rescue assistant fire chief Chad Gartrell said they were grateful for the effort the students put in recognizing their work during the wildfire season.

“These incredible works of art and kind words are a great reminder when the fires are out, and the smoke has cleared from the valley, that their efforts were appreciated,” he said.

The artworks were delivered to West Kelowna Fire Rescue and Kelowna General Hospital. Anybody working at either facility is welcome to browse through and choose a piece they want to keep.

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B.C. Wildfires 2021City of West KelownaCoronavirusCOVID-19HealthcareHospitalsKelownaOkanagan