École Arthur Meighen School in Portage la Prairie had the opportunity for the first time to benefit from the SMARTS (Students Motivated by the Arts) program by having been accepted for a grant. They utilized the funding to bring in independent artist Yvette Cuthbert. 

School Counsellor, ELA, and visual arts teacher Adam Martini applied for the grant and was thrilled to have been accepted.

"It was a grant to have an experienced artist come and work with our students, someone who knew art a little bit better than the teachers here, who had more experience," says Martini. "We applied to have a Yvette Cuthbert come, who's a local artist. She worked with the students over four visits to work with geli plates and brayers, which is something I had no experience with. She taught them how to make different prints and patterns using textural materials and acrylic paints. I think they learned a lot, and I did, too."

Matthew is a student and says they take a rectangular gel-like material that's just under an inch thick and paint on it. 

"You clean it off with hand sanitizer, so it's reusable, " says Matthew. 

He explains they paint any sort of design, such as dark spots for a human body, and then place the paper on the material while the paint is still wet to transfer the image.

Ms. Langner says they practiced adding and removing colour to the pictures. 

Student Avery notes she enjoyed it due to its use of stencils. 

"When the paper went on, when we pulled it off, and it showed all the different patterns of the stencils."

She notes she never heard of the form of art before.

Keira's another student and says she also never knew about this method of making art before.

"I thought, 'I knew about this type of thing all along, technically.' It's just kind of like having paint transferring onto another surface. It's kind of interesting how we make tools for that, and how we can make something, that we also knew how to do, that much easier."

Mrs. Braun and Adam MartiniMrs. Braun and Adam Martini

Mrs. Braun explains they use a brayer to press the paper onto the geli substance that has their painted design on it. 

"They roll the paint onto the geli plate, they put the paper over top, then they just peel it off, and it makes a cool design," adds Braun. "They were using some stencils, Q-tips, and bubble wrap. We had electric outlets to make the design of the outlet parts, and the inside of cardboard and corrugated cardboard, onion bags, and produce bags. We used pretty much anything that you could make some kind of design. The kids were using the Q-tips to make a shape like a heart to make some designs, with newspaper, too. " 

Braun says it was their first time applying for the grant and engaging in it.

"We've actually applied for another one and we'll be having Lee Beaton come in May to do some work with the Seven Teachings, and incorporate that Indigenous part into our art."

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