ArtsSmarts projects roll out across Island schools

Local artists are working collaboratively with Island teachers to enhance learning and engage students in new and creative ways. 

There are 14 projects happening Island wide during the 18th year of ArtsSmarts, a national initiative that blends everyday learning with the arts. These projects allow students to apply what they are learning in various subjects through arts-based activities that include dance, music, theater or fine arts. 

“ArtsSmarts is a great example of artists working with communities to cultivate cultural growth for Prince Edward Island,” said Education and Lifelong Learning Minister Natalie Jameson. “Thank you to our local artists and our Island students for sharing their work. I look forward to seeing firsthand the passion, talent and hard work that went into each piece.”

Projects are currently underway at Mount Stewart Consolidated, École Saint-Augustin, École Pierre-Chaisson, West Kent Elementary, Queen Charlotte Intermediate, Birchwood Intermediate, Georgetown Consolidated, Souris Regional High, Sherwood Elementary, Kinkora Regional High, Three Oaks Senior High, and Montague Regional High. 

Students in Grades 5 and 6 at West Kent Elementary created traditional baskets with the guidance of two Mi’kmaq artists, Nora Richard and Noella Moore. Students participated in a two-day workshop learning about the history of Indigenous people in our region during class time. They learned to appreciate the stories and legends of the region and how to create a piece that honors this history.

Students, teachers and artists will be sharing photos and videos of their progress on these projects using the hashtag #ArtsSmartsPEI on social media. Exhibitions are being held this month at schools, at Confederation Centre of the Arts May 14 to 29 and at Eptek Art and Culture Centre June 8 to 17, to showcase the students’ hard work and creativity.

ArtsSmarts is a program of the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning and the Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture, along with provincial partners including, Le Commission scolaire de langue française, Public Schools Branch, Innovation PEI, PEI Teachers’ Federation, PEI Home and School Federation, La Fédération culturelle de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, Culture PEI, PEI Crafts Council, University of Prince Edward Island, Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Eptek Art and Culture Centre, Native Women’s Association of Canada, and Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI.


Media contact:
Alex Firth
Education and Lifelong Learning


Project Abegweit Kipu’k / Mount Stewart Eagles
School Mount Stewart Consolidated School
Teacher Mary Kendrick
Artist(s) Heather Mullen, Melissa Peter Paul
Learners 57 students in Grades 5-8
Curriculum Links Social Studies, Math, Visual Arts and Technology

Description: A quill work medallion representing school colours of yellow and blue and orange shirts to represent Orange Shirt Day/ Every Child Matters, was designed by Melissa Peter Paul.  It was transformed into a mural with each student painting an 8” square canvas. Students from Scotchfort of the Abegweit First Nation attend Mount Stewart Consolidated and learning about Truth and Reconciliation are very important to them. Through her quill art, Melissa was able to capture the connection between Mount Stewart Consolidated and Truth and Reconciliation. It is important at our school.

Artist Heather Mullen worked with students over 15 hours to teach them about transferring designs on canvas, brush work and painting skills and how every child, whether they believe they are “good at art” or not can paint a piece that will fit together, creating one large work of art. There are 64 squares put together (each child completing a square) to create this mural.


Introduction to a digital audio workstation 
(Soundtrap music production)

School Queen Charlotte Intermediate School
Teacher Jonathan MacInnis
Artist Colin Gilmore Buchanan
Students 185 students in Grades 7-9
Curriculum Links Music, Language Arts, Math & Technology

Description: Students from Grades 7-9 at Queen Charlotte Intermediate School were delighted to work with local award-winning producer Colin Gilmore Buchanan. Colin guided the students through a multitude of introductory projects, allowing students to learn the craft of creating and recording music using a digital audio workstation. Through the course of study, students refined their skills in music production. Grade seven students focused on learning the basics of music production, Grade eight students were introduced to the use of music and soundscape in film, and Grade nine students focused on composing an original work in the classic AABA 32 measure composition style.

Project Birchwood Shorts: An Inquiry Based Approach to Film Making
School Birchwood Intermediate School
Teachers Michelle Bernard, Kent Butler, Ron Vaive
Artist Alexandria O’Sullivan
Students 59 Grade 7 students
Curriculum Links Language Arts, Visual Arts & Exploratory Module

Description:  Students created a short film of a protagonist’s journey. At the end of the learning experience, students they created, edited, and finished a short movie of a protagonist's journey while overcoming an obstacle. Students created a 3D representation of a journey (a bridge), wrote a script, coded an Ozobot to travel the journey, recorded and edited a short film.

Project Mask Making & Identity
School Birchwood Intermediate School
Teacher Scott MacKay
Artist Becca Griffin
Students 28 Grade 8 students
Curriculum Links Social Studies, Visual Arts & Language Arts

Description: Students created masks to symbolize the outward expression of their own identity. Showcasing these masks illustrates the diversity within a single classroom, and the school as a whole. These were paired with a written poem focused on identity.

Project Middle Ages Art Project
School Georgetown School
Teacher Therese Mair
Artist Peter Llewellyn
Students 27 students Grades 4-6
Curriculum Links Social Studies, Science & Math

Description: Grades 4, 5 and 6 students each created an Antique Bronze Medieval Amulet to wear.  Students learned the process of how to carve wax for casting.  They learned the “lost wax process.” They formed wax replicas of medieval designs and participated in the casting process with the artist, Peter Llewellyn.  The students had the opportunity to make unique Celtic designs.  They also viewed the commercial casting process of fine jewelry.

Project The Seven Grandfather Teachings
School Souris Regional School
Teacher Hailey Hennessey
Artist Louise Lamothe
Students 104 students Grades 4-6
Curriculum Links Social Studies, Indigenous Teachings, Music, Language Arts

Description: Students created pieces of art depicting the Seven Grandfather Teachings in respect to the Ojibwe teachings and their corresponding animal. These teachings were shared with the artist, Louise from Lilian Pätawanakwat, who had been taught by Edward Benton-Banai. Lillian granted Louise permission to share these teachings. The Seven Grandfather Teachings are (Love- Eagle), (Respect- Buffalo), (Bravery- Bear), (Truth- Turtle), (Honesty- Raven or Sabe), (Humility- Wolf), and (Wisdom- Beaver). 

Project Drawing on Your Creativity
School Souris Regional School
Teacher Krystal Mills
Artist(s) Marie McGaugh, Lisa Freeman
Students 70 students Grades 7-9
Curriculum Links Health, Visual Arts, Language Arts

 Description: Students from Grades 7, 8 and 9 classes collaborated with an artist to create a large piece of artwork, each in a different medium. Grade 7 created a paper weaving piece. Grade 8 created a needle felted piece and Grade 9 created a painted mural. The groups also had a theme of “under the sea” to try to connect the pieces. Grade 7 did that through the color choice of blues, greens and purples, while the Grade 8 and 9 classes took a more literal approach to creating an underwater themed piece.

Projet Je vois ma passion dans mon bol
École Sherwood Elementary School
Enseignant(s) Marie-Lyne Bédard
Artiste(s) Jessica Hutchinson
Nombre d’apprenants 20 apprenants de la 6e année
Lien avec le programme d’étude  Arts du langage, arts visuels, sciences, mathématiques

Description: Les apprenants ont créé et décoré leur propre bol en poterie. Le bol représente une passion ou un intérêt de l’élève. Le bol en poterie est fabriqué à la main et est décoré à l’aide de nombreuses techniques de décoration, notamment la peinture, la gravure et la sculpture.

Project Connections
School West Kent Elementary
Teacher(s) Shannon Davison, Gillian Caissie, Patti Graham
Artist(s) Nora Richard, Noella Moore
Students 34 students Grades 5-6
Curriculum Links Social Studies, Language Arts, Visual Arts, Math, Social Emotional Learning

Description: Students created traditional baskets with the guidance of two Mi’kmaq artists. This gave all students and teachers a unique appreciation of Mi’kmaq culture. Students participated in a two-day workshop lead by Nora and Noella. Students started with learning about the history of Indigenous people in our region during class time. They learned from our artists how to create a piece that honors this history. They also learned to appreciate the stories and legends of the region. 

Project Digital Poetics and the Fundamentals of Nonsense: Greenscreen Explorations
School Kinkora Regional High School
Teacher Norah Pendergast
Artist Alexandra O’Sullivan
Students 14 Grade 9 students
Curriculum Links Visual Arts, Technology, Language Arts

Description: During the lockdown of January and February 2022, Grade 9 technical art students staged and filmed poetic, digital works at home with homemade green screens and their cell-phone cameras. Students drew on their lockdown surroundings and the imagined potential of green screen materials to develop storyboards. Under the expert mentorship of digital artist, Alexandra O’Sullivan, they created MP4 files: visual poetry within the genre of experimental media art. Looped together, they portray a weird winter fantasy land in rural Kinkora, where escape from lockdown was facilitated through the magic of green screens. Due to lockdown, the planned collaboration with music students was impossible and the artist produced a soundtrack for the looped video files. 

Projet L’art autochtone sur toutes ses facettes
École École Saint-Augustin
Enseignant(s) Julie Gagnon, Judith MacDonald, Carl Peterson, Susan Shive, Melissa Martel, Dakota Cameron
Artiste(s) Lynn Gaudet, Jamie Thomas, Sara Myers
Apprenants 47 apprenants de la 1e à la 6e année
Lien avec le programme d’étude Arts du langage, arts visuels, sciences humaines, mathématiques

Description:  Dans le cadre de notre pédagogie sociale et, de notre engagement avec la vérité et la réconciliation avec les peuples autochtones, les étudiants on explorer l'aspect des arts reliés à leur cutlure. Tous les élèves ont été engagés, de différentes manières, à l'exploration et la création des arts autochtones selon les différents médiums. 

Projet Bien dans notre espace
École École Pierre-Chiasson
Enseignant(s) Janelle Chaisson, Raquel Wells
Artiste(s) Lynn Gaudet
Nombre d’apprenants 33 apprenants de la 7e à la 12e année
Liens avec le programme d’étude Arts du langage, arts visuels, arts industrielles, mathématiques

Description: Les étudiants de l’intermédiaire et du secondaire de l’école Pierre-Chiasson ont appris comment créer des slogans et la création de mettre des mots ensemble en français pour représenter ce qu’ils sentent, leur fierté, des mots de confiance en soi-même; ce qui augmentera leur sentiment d’appartenance à leur école de langue française première en plus d’avoir valoriser les estimes de soi avec les messages choisis pour les arts. En fabriquant des œuvres qu’ils mettront dans leurs espaces scolaires et qui donneront un espace entouré de mots positifs.

Project Popular Music Performance Songwriting Showcase
School Three Oaks Senior High School
Teacher Krista Bryson
Artist Catherine MacLellan
Students 47 Grade 12 students
Links to curriculum Language Arts & Music

Description: Over the course of several weeks, students worked through the songwriting process, tasked with the goal of creating an original work that authentically represents them as an artist, while receiving guidance from JUNO Award winning songwriter Catherine MacLellan. All this work cumulated to a showcase featuring all original songs written and performed by our students titled ‘Music is Our Medicine’, in honor of this year’s Music Monday theme. Initiated by the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, Music Monday is one of the world's largest single events dedicated to raising awareness for music education. 

Project MMIWG2S (Change Makers: Taken Not Forgotten)
School Montague Regional High School
Teacher(s)  Matt Kelly, Kathryn Rajamanie
UPEI Pre-service Teachers Alyxandria Ellis, Laura Rudderham
Artist(s) Judy Clark, Julie Pellessier- Lush, Kirsten Compton Stewart
Students 40 students Grades 10-12
Links to curriculum Global Issues 621 and Visual Art 501

Changemakers: Stories from the Past. Students created images that came to them when stories were shared of the Seven Sacred Grandfather Teachings. Elders in indigenous communities would teach their youth with teachings to follow for a good life. These oral teachings would be shared and passed down from generation to generation. They encompass the morals, values, structures, ceremonial practices, spiritual beliefs of the community. 

As a commitment to working towards truth and reconciliation, students, learned the lessons of Love, Respect, Bravery, Truth, Honesty, Humility, and Wisdom. They created their visual representations in Linocut Prints. The linocut process is a relief printing technique where a design is carved into the linoleum material and the raised areas will have ink added and printed in reverse. Students worked in groups and created these pieces by hand.

The next generation are our changemakers. The MMIWG2S movement raised awareness for these devastating stories through Red Dress Day on May 5th.  Students designed and created a unique eagle feather to express their individual messages of hope. We were told in the Indigenous tradition that because the eagles fly highest in the sky, they can enter the spirit world and deliver our prayers to the Creator. With each feather, we ask that our stolen sisters find justice, that their families find peace, and that all communities within Canada and Turtle Island acknowledge the power of the change maker generation.