When creating her two paintings, and two smaller framed pieces of art, Melo Love’s thoughts turned to her sister and a childhood friend.
Her sister is a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, and her childhood friend is trans-gender.
Love, a Grade 12 student at Armstrong’s Pleasant Valley Secondary School, is one of the students from her school and from Len Wood Middle School whose work is on display this week at the Armstrong Seniors Activity Centre, part of the Armstrong Pride Society’s Diversity – Public Art Exhibition.
For Love, who took part to raise awareness for the LGBTQIA2S+ community, it’s the first time her art has been shown publicly.
“It makes me feel really good and that I actually can be an artist because I always get told it’s really hard to be one,” said Love. “Having it be here (on display) and having people actually look at it, then having them go, ‘Wow, somebody did that.’”
Janine Carscadden from Armstrong Pride was tending the admission table on the display’s opening day Sunday, May 29. She said there are more than 50 pieces on display, which more than exceeded the society’s expectations.
“We were hoping we’d maybe have about a dozen pieces,” said Carscadden.
“The thoughtfulness, the creativity, and the meaning that the students have expressed in their work is incredibly profound, very insightful. Anyone who comes here and takes the time to look, and read, and study and absorb this artwork will realize that the voices of young people are incredibly powerful and very much needed in our community.”
The display is on through until Sunday, June 5. Admission is by donation. The centre is open Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (closed 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.) and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is by donation.
The display shuts down for 90 minutes Saturday, June 4, so society members, the students and the public can take part in the official unveiling of the community’s first rainbow sidewalk, in front of the caboose on Smith Drive.
After the unveiling, people are invited to Armstrong’s first Pride in the Park event from 2 to 6 p.m. at Memorial Park, where you can enjoy family-fun activities and a chance to meet and celebrate together. There is scheduled to be music, face-painting and a Drag King show.