By Breanne Massey
Special to the Pioneer
A free art workshop for children five and up will honour the late Columbia Valley artist Sue Wells.
The fifth annual memorial art workshop entitled Sue Wells Day will take place Sunday, November 10, between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. as two hour-long workshops for budding artists to create art. This year’s theme will be to create artwork about fish.
“Sue Wells was a well-known artist and art teacher,” Jami Scheffer, executive director and gallery manager at Pynelogs, wrote to the Pioneer.
“She thought everyone, especially children, could benefit from having art in their lives as a way of self expression. She taught art classes at the College of the Rockies as well as for at-risk kids.”
After her death in Februrary of 2014, the Sue Wells Art Foundation began as a memorial for Sue to encourage children to create an original piece of artwork to take home thanks to financial support from W. Brett Wilson and family, as well as several community businesses who sponsor the workshop.
“The original concept of providing six different art stations for kids to choose from has been the best format,” Ms. Scheffer replied in response to being asked about how the workshop has evolved over the last five years.
“So we really haven’t changed it too much. Last year, the theme was halloween. This year we are celebrating ‘fish’ as this was one of Sue’s themes.”
But for her daughter, the workshop still seems surreal.
“We really didn’t know how many kids would show up the first year and it was a huge success,” Carly Wells, Sue’s daughter, wrote to the Pioneer.
“We ask talented, creative people to help instruct the kids each year and add different styles and techniques so no project is repeated. Every year the kids can look forward to trying something new and fresh.”
Carly says the biggest driver in starting the workshop was to create an event for other children, so that her mom’s love of art could be passed on to children in the way she had passed her love of art on into the Valley.
“My mom loved teaching art classes and spent a lot of time with my daughter teaching her painting techniques and making crafts,” Carly explained. “She always believed that art was healing and every child should have a chance to create and express their own individuality through their own artwork.”
“Together with Black Star, our family decided to create the Sue Wells free art day so every child has a chance to play and hopefully discover a love for all things creative as my mom did.”
But the most distinct part of the event for Carly now, after watching it evolve and remembering her own daughter creating art with Sue Wells, is to see the stories each child can tell through the creative process.
“My favorite part of the event is watching the kids create their own masterpiece,” Carly said. “Every child has a different style and the creativity that comes out of these kids is amazing. These kids walk out with a piece of art they can display at home and be proud of, and hopefully it inspires them to continue to be creative and have art be a part of their lives forever.”
To sign-up, please call Ms. Scheffer at 250-342-6663.