Pitakkalak School’s Grade 3 class raise their hands as parents applaud them for their performance at their end-of-year concert. (Photo courtesy of Pitakallak School/Kativik Ilisarniliriniq)

Art week in Kuujjuaq: 2 schools stage year-end celebrations

Jaanimmarik School hosted an art exposition while Pitakkalak School held a concert.

By Cedric Gallant - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Students in Kuujjuaq celebrated the end of their school year by showing off their creativity.

Jaanimmarik Secondary School staged an art exhibit and Pitakkalak Primary School held a two-day concert last week.

An example of some of the creations exhibited by students at Jaanimmarik School in Kuujjuaq last week. (Photo courtesy of Jaanimmarik School/Kativik Ilisarniliriniq)

For both schools, it was their first time trying.

“At first, the idea was just to do it with my students,” said Jaanimmarik School’s Grade 4 teacher Jamie Boyle.

“When I brought it up with the principal, he suggested that everyone be included.”

Jaanimmarik School runs from Grade 4 through Secondary 5, the final year of high school.

Its art expo featured the works of the school’s 373 students.

Creations ranged from sewing, beading, natural dye to sketching, photography and needlecraft. All of it was displayed for all of Kuujjuaq to see.

“It was nice to provide the space for everybody to exhibit and show their art,” said Boyle.

“The truth is, I think everybody can be an artist. So I think it’s important to nourish this now while they are young and not judge their art harshly.”

She said organizers were surprised by the turnout in the community of about 2,700 residents.

“I don’t think we were expecting so many people, but we had somewhere around 300 people come around.”

The school’s music club played ukulele and handpan, a melodic drum, and demonstrated throat singing.

Dried caribou and hot dogs were offered to visitors.

“It was very special, and very needed,” Boyle said of the event, adding the plan is to keep this project going every year.

“I think there are a lot of artists up here and they just need this space to be able to see themselves shine.”

Students at Jaanimmarik School created a variety of pieces of art, including needlecraft, sketching and patinting. (Photo courtesy of Jaanimmarik School/Kativik Ilisarniliriniq)

Across the stream from Jaanimmarik School is Pitakkalak Primary School, which hosted its own two-day concert.

“To see them proud of what they are doing, they sing, they speak loudly, it’s worth all the gold in the world,” said music teacher Marilou Bourbonnière, in French, in an interview with Nunatsiaq News.

The plan was to have the students plan their own show. Bourbonnière showed them different plays and musicals to see what they were more interested in doing.

Children from kindergarten to Grade 3 were divided into groups based on their grade and their interest in dancing, singing or acting. Then Bourbonnière chose what musical would fit best to the class’s interests.

“I was really surprised because the students were not shy at all, they participated and they sang,” she said, adding the students were included in everything from organization, costumes and decor.

“I feel like at a young age, when they are still developing their personality, to offer them the opportunity to see what doing a concert feels like could develop a passion in them that they might never have if they didn’t get that chance.”

Bourbonnière said she was moved by the number of people who came.

“There weren’t even enough seats for people to sit down,” she said.

Currently in her first year as a teacher in Kuujjuaq, she organized this event with the support of the school.

“I fell in love with the community, and I will be here for a few years,” Bourbonnière said, adding she plans to organize more year-end concerts in the future.

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