Students abandon art as act of kindness

A painted clay butterfly with a note attached hangs on a tree outside of the Arts Centre on May 14, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

If you were at Memorial Square on Tuesday morning, maybe you noticed clay butterflies and bright pink notes hanging from trees or sitting on the edge of the fountain.

Nine students from Won Ska Cultural Public School placed them randomly, hoping that others would stumble upon them and make them smile.

The notes read “Today the universe picks you to receive this gift with the hope that you enjoy it or pass it on to someone else.”

Cheryl Ring, the students’ art teacher, began the Art Abandonment Prince Albert project as a spinoff to one that was started in Vancouver by a couple of artists.

Michael deMeng and Andrea Matus deMeng wrote a book about it called ‘The Art Abandonment Project: Create and Share Random Acts of Art.’ Ring came across the book at an art store in Calgary.

“Since I work with youth, I thought the formula would be really great as engaging local youth to make and abandon art just for the sake of creating community,” she said.

Cheryl Ring, an art teacher at Won Ska Cultural Public School, says the Art Abandonment project helps the students feel like they belong somewhere. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

According to their website, Won Ska provides high school education with an emphasis on traditional teachings and culture, providing elders, addictions counsellors and social workers in partnership with P.A. Outreach. Once the students reach their personal needs, they transition to other high schools or work programs.

Ring spends every Tuesday morning with the class.

“They’re kids that don’t have a lot in their life. This is something that really makes them feel like they are a part of a community and it just makes me so happy to see them happy and to have them feel like they belong somewhere,” she said.

The notes contain an email address so whoever finds them can tell the students how they affected their day.

“I’m just hoping that it’s something life-changing…that somebody will (respond) because then I can pass that on and tell them what a little ripple can do to change the world.”

Shannelle Level, 17, said if she were to come across a piece of art, it would brighten her mood.

“It’s like a little motivation and a little butterfly that hopefully helps somebody’s day, improve it if they’re having a bad day,” she said.

Level also paints and draws on her own time.

“It’s my therapy in a way. When I’m feeling down, I just do my art. I paint and draw and it makes me feel better plus I’m doing something positive out of it.”

Ring is a professional multimedia artist in Prince Albert.

She said she’s always looking for low cost, timely projects for her students to engage in that still make an impact on the city.

You can also visit the group’s Facebook page called Art Abandonment Prince Albert.