Youth art celebrated at VISAC Gallery

VISAC Gallery and J. L. Crowe Secondary present Joost Winckers’ Art Students Showcase

Emerging artists will be put in the spotlight this week when Crowe art teacher Joost Winckers and his students present their work at the Trail art gallery.

VISAC Gallery and J. L. Crowe Secondary School are presenting Joost Winckers’ Art Students Showcase Friday from 6-7:30 p.m. at the studio in the basement of the Greater Trail Community Centre (Selkirk College).

The opening reception kicks off a creative, talented and diverse exhibit that shows young artists there is a supportive arts community in Trail waiting to display and view their work.

“Our younger artists are so important and so many don’t feel that there is a supportive art network here, so it’s just a nice open house to showcase their brilliance, really,” explained VISAC director Kristen Renn.

The exhibit will include a variety of pieces in different mediums from mixed applications, spray paint, portraits, pencil and ink and so much more.

“His (Winckers) teaching style is so dynamic and inclusive and just really open even to what art is and what art can be,” said Renn.

“This honestly is a showcase I’m most excited about.”

Renn took over as director just over a year ago and as she stepped into her new role saw a need to open the facility’s door to young artists. The 30-year non-profit organization has a real following of a dedicated older population but it’s still working hard on reaching the up-and-coming artists in the community. She considers VISAC the perfect gallery to help guide emerging artists through showcasing their talent from what’s needed to put on a show, how to curate art and what further is expected from the artist.

“Our young artists are really the life blood of an art’s community both for our theatre, for our visual arts, for everything,” she said.

The Youth Action Network “resident artist and Wonder Woman” not only connects with youth in Rossland regularly but also makes trips to Crowe to find out first hand what art in Trail means to them and what they’d like to see more of.

Sadly, their answer usually is they don’t think about art in Trail or that it even exists. Changing that mindset is first and foremost for Renn.

“My goal moving forward is definitely to reach out to teens, graduating seniors, young artists and make sure they know that this is a supportive community and there is art in Trail and it’s going to keep going,” she adds.

Having a teacher like Winckers not only driving creativity but also feeding the same message to young minds is setting things further into motion.

Upstairs, Charles Bailey Theatre manager Nadine Tremblay is also partnering in the shared vision for arts in Trail. The two friends, Renn and Tremblay, continue to support one another’s endeavours by promoting upcoming shows all within the community centre.

After the showcase, people are encouraged to head upstairs to the theatre to check out the White Buffalo Storytelling event starting right after the reception.

Renn is pleased that word is catching on in Trail, and that the space somewhat hidden from the streetscape is garnering attention and foot traffic. This exhibit, in particular, is expected to draw a crowd of supportive parents, teachers and peers.

“We really do feel that not only is this a chance to showcase the youth art but also, honestly, Joost,” she said. “He’s so humble; he barely calls himself an artist, and we do invite him to put a few of his pieces of work in.”

VISAC Gallery is located at 1501 Cedar Ave. in the basement level of the community centre. There will light refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages offered during the opening reception.