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St. Augustine students' art selected for Edmonton airport exhibit

Edmonton International Airport to display art from several St. Augustine School students
Several pieces of art by St. Augustine School students were recently selected for an exhibit to be installed at the Edmonton International Airport. (Mark Weber/Ponoka News)

Travelers heading out of or into the Edmonton International Airport will soon be able to view eye-catching travel-themed artwork by several St. Augustine School students.

"It just popped into my news feed on Facebook that the Edmonton International Airport was having an art contest," said Kelly Shimp, an art teacher at the school.

"They said that they were looking for 16 by 20-inch pieces of art along the theme of travel, or of dream destinations with a positive message."

Shimp said there are a series of renovations going on at the airport currently, and part of that includes putting in an art installation of students' work. 

"So they put out this call for 30 pieces of art to put up."

Not too long later, Shimp noticed her email was flooded with notifications about the contest results.

"I was thinking, how could I have that many emails? I was only gone for half a day," she said with a laugh.

"I was thinking maybe we will get one or two, as it was open to whoever. But you have to take these opportunities to put yourself out there and try these things. So when opportunities like this come our way, I'm always like, guess what? We are going to do this! it's just part of what we do. I think you won't win anything or be recognized if you aren't willing to put yourself out there and put your skills to the test."

Turns out the committee at the airport agreed. They selected 17 pieces from St. Augustine School.

Seeing that of the 30 pieces to be put up, more than half of them will be from St. Augustine was unbelievable, said Shimp.

"The pieces are going to be on display for up to two years. The prize is of course having your artwork put up, but the students also received a $50 prize pack and an honorarium of $250 each. So that is significantly more than what we were expecting."

The pieces will be displayed in the airport's second-level mezzanine area.

"It will be where people come in to pick up their loved ones, which is cool. When I travel, I always stop and look at the art along the way because I am always curious to see what is on display."

Meanwhile, it's all part of what has been a banner month for one St. Augustine student in particular.

As part of another contest to commemorate Catholic Education Week, Aliyah Bautista and Kristen Galler's painting was one of those selected, and it was presented to Archbishop Smith earlier this month.

Bautista also had a piece selected for the airport, and to top it all off, she made a submission that was chosen for the 2024 Every Child Matters orange shirt design.

She said she's always had a love for the arts. "But then I was able to get the proper experience in high school," she said, adding that she wants to continue to pursue art in her post-secondary studies."

Meanwhile, Shimp is very proud of her talented troupe.

"The students enjoyed this particular project because they painted all kinds of things from photos they took when they were on holidays to something that was in their hearts or a feeling they've had (about a location). They also painted scenes from places they want to go," she explained.

"The travel club had just got back from Japan and Korea as well, so I think that some of that also factored into some of their art, too."

For Shimp, helping her students garner that 'real-world exposure' pays dividends, as is reflected in her students' recent stream of success.

"You could paint something and it could be on display at the airport, or it could be a logo on a shirt that will be worn across Canada. Or it could be hanging in the archdiocese.

"I'm just lucky that I have these artistic kids!"
















Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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