Art exhibit at Sportsplex features Fergus high school students’ work

FERGUS – When Centre Wellington District High School art students created their cumulative art projects last semester, they weren’t expecting to be offered the opportunity to share their work in the community.

But thanks to a partnership with the Elora Fergus Arts Council, 24 students in Grades 9 through 12 are proudly displaying their art pieces on the wall of a boardroom at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex. 

The art exhibit is called Challenge, and the students were given the freedom to choose how they wanted to portray challenge through their art, teacher Jen Main told the Advertiser during the exhibit opening on Feb. 22. 

Anna Main’s artwork, in the top right corner, represents the challenge of facing change. Photo by Robin George


Some of the students focused on personal challenges including mental health, isolation and identity, while others chose challenges that impact the whole world such as climate change. 

Art teacher Bobbi Bentham Reynolds said it was a “pretty big deal” for the students to see their art on display somewhere other than the high school. 

And students Anna Main, Robynn Grills and Ava Noorlander all said it felt great to see their work hanging on the Sportsplex wall. 

“I feel pretty proud of myself,” said Grade 12 student Main. “I’m happy that other people can see my art,” she added. 

The theme of Main’s artwork is change, and it has a strong message: “Change can be scary. Change can be hard. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad,” Main said. 

Robynn Grills’s art shows a workspace in a teenager’s bedroom and represents the challenge of facing endless hours of studying. Photo by Robin George


Grade 9 student Grills’ artwork is about the challenge of spending endless hours studying. It is an acrylic painting of a bedroom, the place many teenagers do much of their school work. 

She said it’s also about counting down the days until she can put her knowledge to use – and her bedroom can go back to being a place for sleeping “and a place I can be myself, instead of just another place for school.” 

Grade 9 student Noorlander’s artwork depicts black and white drawings of critically-endangered parrots, with a bright red background. Around the border of the multimedia piece are drawings of causes of the parrots’ decline, including hunting, trapping for the pet trade, and deforestation. 

The piece speaks both to the challenges these birds face trying to survive and the human challenge of trying to restore their populations and habitats, and Noorlander hopes it “spreads awareness about endangered parrots.” 

Ava Noorlander’s art shows critically-endangered species of parrots, and represents the challenges they face to survive as well as the human challenge of restoring their populations and habitats. Photo by Robin George


Elora Fergus Arts Council board member Barb Lee said she reached out to Main and Bentham Reynolds to set up the art exhibit as part of the council’s committee for Art in Public Places. 

“We really wanted an opportunity to display youth shows,” Lee said, and “Jen and Bobbi just embraced it.” 

Lee said they chose the Sportsplex because lots of kids spend time there so are likely to see the student’s art.

The art will remain on display at the Sportsplex until April 30.