The students at St. Benedict Elementary in Orangeville recently donated their creativity for a great cause: they’ve created DAREarts #WhaleTale Cards that will be sold to help empower Aboriginal youth across Canada! Why “Whale Tales,” you ask? This year’s card theme was created in collaboration with Ken Hall, an Orangeville-area sculptor who has harnessed his artistic skill as a voice for positive change, and was recently named “Artist of the Year” at the 2014 Orangeville Arts & Culture Awards.
The whale is a commonly used symbol that swims throughout legends around the globe. The session started with the soothing sounds of whale songs playing on a stereo, turning the room into an ocean of sounds. Aboriginal artist Gloria Hope then drew the students into the theme with an Ojibway whale legend, explaining that the whale serves as a keeper of knowledge, wisdom, and stories.
Thoughtful smiles and a few whispers of excitement permeated the classroom as Gloria introduced Ken Hall, an artist whose own “Whale Tale” is being used to spread knowledge of current environmental challenges that affect both animals and humans alike.
Ken’s whale tale centres on Hope, a killer whale that was found beached along the shores of Washington State in 2002. Hope’s body was found to contain the highest levels of toxic chemicals, including DDT and PCBs, ever recorded in an orca. She was named “Hope” by the local children, and she inspired Ken to construct his own artwork that would bring awareness to the challenges currently affecting the Earth’s ecosystems and the cost of neglecting the environment. His creation, Legacy, is a life-sized reconstruction of Hope’s skeleton made from reclaimed cedar.
As he shared the stories of Hope and Legacy, the students started thinking of their own causes and carefully drafted their ideas as images. With Hope’s story so fresh in their minds, many of the children started to draw whales of their own, while others began to draw pristine trees, lakes, and landscapes.
We also had a special guest on the team; joining us from Dixon Ticonderoga, Kimberley Delgado was present to encourage the students and support the program. The students and DAREarts are all very thankful to Dixon Ticonderoga for donating supplies to DAREarts and giving the students pencil crayons to use and keep via the Prang Power program!
DAREarts would like to extend a very special thank you to photographer Pete Paterson and videographer Mick Partlett for their contributions to this year’s Whale Tales DARE2draw theme. Also, to all of our children who DARE2draw and help other children by making DAREarts Cards!
Click here to learn more about Ken Hall’s Legacy Project.
Click here for more information about the Prang Power program, including how you can earn free art supplies!