As part of the core curriculum here in Alberta, the arts are an essential element of our students’ education, and providing varied, engaging opportunities for our young people to learn through arts programming is incredibly important to students’ growth. Off-campus learning can have a massive impact on students’ enjoyment and understanding of the arts, but it is not always an option for schools in Calgary’s poorer neighbourhoods.

EducationMatters works with donors to help provide off-campus learning opportunities for all students, regardless of financial circumstances, and Masters Gallery is one of the community partners making a meaningful difference for public schools by covering the transportation costs for students to get to and from the gallery to take part in their Young Masters arts program.

Young Masters provides additional opportunities for students to learn about Canadian historical and contemporary art through exploring Masters Gallery and engaging in an art talk with the gallery’s president, Ryan Green.

“The goal for Young Masters is to make art more accessible and less intimidating for children who are curious about exploring their creativity,” says Ryan.

“Children will walk away from the program with a new appreciation of art and a greater understanding of Canadian artists.”

While exploring the gallery, many students used their imagination and creativity to sketch a copy of their favourite art pieces, or developed an original sketch inspired by the art around them.

A grade 5 student from Valley View School was eager to show EducationMatters her sketch and explained what inspired her two drawings.

“I drew this because it teaches us a lesson that these days we have different types of art that we can do, but in the olden days they only had paint that they used to make with the juices from fruit or something else. These days we have tools that can create different types of art and some examples are pastels and pencil crayons.”

It is so easy to dismiss the arts as frivolous when students are going to school hungry, inadequately dressed, or struggling with reading or math. However, allowing each individual to experience different ways of learning and thinking can have an enormous impact on other areas of their education and life, and open doors to opportunities and interests they have never even considered.

Donations like this one enable students from some of Calgary’s least affluent communities to encounter fine art in ways that they would never be able to in their classrooms. This opportunity allows them to have access to the same resources and experience that some of their peers across the city take for granted.

“The kids are super excited here. I think this brings more creativity out of the kids. When they are seeing the art, they are more imaginative,” said a parent volunteer of Valley View School.

Without the generosity of donors like Masters Gallery many of Calgary’s students would miss out on experiences like this. Thank you Masters Gallery for investing in our students!