One of the Crossley student works on display at the community centre. DON RICKERS

The festive Christmas decorations which adorn the Meridian Community Centre have been augmented by 20 pieces of creative artwork on the upper-level walls, courtesy of students from E.L. Crossley.

The gallery-style display was the site of a reception last month, as the artists and their families gathered to celebrate the artistic talent of local students. Mayor Marvin Junkin was on hand to provide each of the students with a certificate of recognition for their efforts.

Crossley art teacher Sherry Wilkinson, who also directed the creation of the mural at Marlene Stewart Streit Park, told the Voice that the display is an annual activity to stimulate the creative juices of her 84 students in Grades 9, 11, and 12.

“It’s the major, culminating art project for the semester, in which they demonstrate the skills they have learned throughout the previous months,” said Wilkinson. “Students in their respective classes vote by ballot to see which pieces will be displayed here at the MCC. They draw in high realism, which is very technical. Then we introduced a surreal setting, where the objects are out of place, even absurd.”

Wilkinson, who has taught art at Crossley for 18 years, directed her students to pick either a personality of characters, or a real-life person, and narrate one aspect of their story or moment of their life, with appropriate symbolism. Most of the work was done in graphite pencil, but watercolours, crayon, and acrylics were also on display.

The exhibition runs until mid-January, although the MCC has subsequently been closed to the public as part of the province’s current Covid lockdown.

The tradition of publicly displaying Crossley student art started in 2011, with selected pieces hung in Town Hall corridors. When the MCC was built, it created the opportunity for filling additional wall space.

Sara Ewing and Brian Lee received certificates of appreciation at a December reception held at the MCC. DON RICKERS

Artwork on display included submissions by Sarah Ewing and Brian Lee, in Grades 12 and 9 respectively, who both live in Fonthill and attend Crossley. Whereas Brian considers his sketchings to be “just a hobby,” Sara is more passionate about her endeavours in the field.

“Art is a great love of mine, a lifelong dream,” she said. “I really want it to be my career.”

In fact, Sara has already commenced on her chosen path, with a part-time job creating artwork for video games as part of a small, online design company in St. Catharines.