Amie Underhill, manager of Western Financial Group Branch, (top left) presents the framed calendar works to Josh Wouters (bottom left), Zara Gordon, Faith Adamo, Brianna Maier and art teacher Shannen Harle (far right). Not pictured in Malawi Simo.

Five Campbell River students’ art chosen for foundation calendar

Five students from Timberline Secondary picked by Western Communities Foundation

A group of five Timberline visual arts students have had their artwork submission picked for the Western Financial Group foundation’s official 2019 calendar.

Brianna Maier, Josh Wouters, Faith Adamo, Zara Gordon and Malawi Simo were among the dozen chosen for the contest. In the spring, the contest brought in lots of entries from students around Western Canada, but the Timberline grads managed to capture five of the months for the coming year. Other winners are from Alberta and Saskatchewan, along with a couple from Victoria.

This marked the first year for the contest, organized by Western Communities Foundation.

“We’re thankful to everyone who participated,” Laurette LaPlante, director for the registered charity, said on the company’s website. “The judges were constantly thrilled by our country’s young people and their artistic skills.”

The contest theme was “Through My Eyes,” in which students were to find inspiration for their work from their communities.

The winners each received their original submission framed along with five of the 2019 calendars they can give out. The school also received extra copies of the calendar to display in classrooms.

“The students themselves, along with their parents are very proud,” said teacher Shannen Harle. “Having their art published has given them a real sense of accomplishment and a sense of validation that other people enjoy their style of art. Many of these young artists have become even more fearless with their art now that they have been recognized.”

Gordon says she was always interested in art but started getting serious about five or six years ago. She had not submitted for a contest before but was curious.

“I thought it would be interested to be published,” she says. “It was exciting.”

For her work, she picked a lighthouse from the southern part of Vancouver Island.

Maier submitted something more abstract. She had expected to hand in something different but time was running short to get it in on deadline.

“I was planning on painting a different piece,” she says.

As to what they want to do when they’re finished school, Gordon would like to study art at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Maier is interested in studying special effects or going into teaching, though she wants to focus on the arts if she becomes a teacher.

The contest is part of Western’s charity efforts. Amie Underhill, Western Financial Group manager, said the foundation has raised funds in the Campbell River community for things like new batting cages for minor baseball and student bursaries.

She was pleased to be able to present the framed works to the students on behalf of the company, and she also gives Harle a lot of credit in generating enthusiasm for the contest among the students.

“Shannen is such a great supporter of it all,” she says.

Underhill says Western is reviewing how the event went this year and considering whether to hold it again next year.

“I really hope they do,” she adds.

Western Financial Group is an insurance services company with headquarters in High River, Alta., and 179 locations through the country.

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