Norma Nickel’s “Nicomekl Triptych” (photographic print, 2018) is featured in a Surrey Art Gallery exhibit called “Praxis: Art from the Surrey Art Teachers Association.” (submitted photo/SAG)

MINTY: Thankfully, artists in a Surrey gallery show ‘do’ as well as teach

Also: Handel Society of Music sings and plays in Surrey this Saturday, May 19

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

It feels like summer already. We are watching gardens grow at alarming rates, and maybe feel more like heading to the beach or a lake instead of taming the backyard jungle. And maybe school kids are ready to bolt from classes lured outside by sunny days. Ah, to be a teacher at this time of year. Another school year is ending, and maybe many teachers are also looking forward to the summer break. There are lots of maybes. One thing for certain, teachers are an influential and important part of our society. Kudos go to Surrey Art Gallery for recognizing the importance of teachers – in fact, to those who teach art.

Teachers take the spotlight in a rare showcase of artworks at the gallery’s new exhibition of teachers’ artworks, titled Praxis: Art from the Surrey Art Teachers Association, which runs from May 11 to Aug. 18.

The gallery has often showcased student artwork, from elementary and secondary schools. Well, the “lesson plan” has been switched up to feature 18 local art teachers showcasing their own artistic talent through a display of rarely seen paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures.

I really hate the adage, ‘Those who can’t do, teach.’ Patently untrue. Here is your opportunity to get up close and personal with these talented artists – who just also happen to be teachers in our school system. They can “do” as well as teach.

The artworks explore diverse themes, as each artist demonstrates the reciprocal process of education; just as a child’s mind grows through education, so too can dedication to the betterment of others result in self-discovery and artistic development on the part of teachers. Through their myriad pursuits, the artists of Praxis demonstrate a lifelong commitment to their own learning and to the creative imagination.

Most of us have a creative side. Thank you to the teachers who encourage and stimulate creativity. It’s liberating, in a sense. As educators, these art teachers provide students with the tools to make connections with their curriculum and to learn about their world. For many kids, expressing themselves through works of art is essential to their personal development. Not everyone is born to be a math wiz, novelist or engineer. Exploring creative avenues develops minds and opens doors. I know this because Liane Davison tells us so.

• RELATED STORY: New ‘Interactive Art Museum’ pitched for Surrey’s City Centre area.

As part of Surrey Art Gallery’s mandate to support local artists, the facility regularly displays work from community organizations and elementary and secondary school students. Davison, the gallery’s director, has over many years contributed to my understanding of the visual arts. “Since the inception of the gallery in 1975,” she says, “we have been committed to providing opportunities for thousands of artists to see their work hung professionally in a public space, often for the first time.”

Given the challenges of finding exposure for their work, such an opportunity can serve to inspire artists in the pursuit of their practice.

The Surrey Art Teachers Association (SATA) connects local art teachers and students in the pursuit of excellence in visual arts instruction. SATA members support each other through the sharing of resources, opportunities, knowledge and ideas. This showcase at Surrey Art Gallery is truly an important recognition for these artist/teachers.

The gallery is internationally recognized for its award-winning programs, and is the second largest public art museum in Metro Vancouver. Founded in 1975, the gallery presents contemporary art by local, national and international artists, including digital and audio art. Its extensive public programs for children through to adults aim to engage the public in an ongoing conversation about issues and ideas that affect our communities, and to provide opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process.

Admission is free at the gallery, located in Surrey Arts Centre, at Bear Creek Park. Hmmm, that combines summer-like outings with works of art. Nice.

Those creative people who aren’t visual artists just might make music their choice for finding their talents. The Handel Society of Music spring concert for choir and orchestra is this Saturday, May 19, at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 2350 148th St., Surrey. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes “Lutheran Mass” by J.S. Bach, plus some Vivaldi and other excellent inspiring music. Soloists are Melanie Krueger (soprano), Megan Latham (alto), Adam Dyjach (tenor) and Andrew Greenwood (bass). The choir and orchestra are under the direction of Johan Louwersheimer.

Tickets are $25, or $20 for seniors/students; it’s free to attend for children under 16 years of age. Tickets are available from Tapestry Music, Christopher’s Gift Gallery and at the door, if you go early. Visit the website at for more information. New members are always welcome to join the choir for next season’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” Interested? Phone 604-202-7801. It is never too late to learn something new, or just enjoy a different experience. Our education in life can have many different teachers. Thank you, teachers, one and all.

Just Posted

‘Powerful’ Punjabi youth writing contest lauded in Surrey

The Dhahan Prize contest invites B.C. teens to connect to their culture through storytelling

FOCUS: New arena, more ice in Surrey – but will it be enough for everyone?

With both rinks to close at North Surrey rec, the result is a net gain of one ice sheet this fall

Accused Surrey transit cop shooter’s bail hearing set for April

Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, is accused of shooting Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at Surrey vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

Two suspects sought after man shot in Surrey’s Hawthorne Park Sunday

Police say victim was arrested after being treated for gunshot in hospital

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

5 to start your day

IIO BC probe arrest at Surrey vigil for mosque shooting, Maple Ridge closes homeless evacuation centre and more

‘The whole city has changed:’ B.C. woman in New Zealand reacts to mosque attacks

An expatriate and Muslim students at UBC Okanagan deeply affected by white supremacist shooting

Trudeau condemns hateful, ‘toxic segments’ of society after New Zealand shooting

Prime Minister expressed sorrow at the many attacks in recent years

Air Canada grounds its Boeing Max 8s until at least July 1 to provide certainty

Airlines around the world have been working to redeploy their fleets since their Max 8s were grounded last week

Budget to tout Liberal economic record, provide distraction from SNC furor

This is the Liberal government’s fourth and final budget before the election

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

Vancouver Island overdue for the big one, can also expect mega-thrust tsunami

The last big earthquake was 70 years ago in Courtenay

Most Read