NEW GLASGOW – Before beginning to sketch the portrait Carolyn Vienneau was going to paint of her grandniece Rehtaeh Parsons, she had to find the perfect photo.
She chose to go with one that showcased Parsons at a happy time, acting silly with her tongue stuck out.
It’s only one of several pieces that will be featured in an upcoming art show at The Celtic Circle called “Be The Change,” focusing on cyber-bullying.
“We want to bring awareness of the consequences of cyber-bullying and what’s available for victims,” Vienneau said.
The show will incorporate a number of professional artists as well as youth, using art to demonstrate their depiction of cyber-bullying.
Vienneau has been working with youth from Roots for Youth, the Pictou Youth Club, and a student from her classes at Strokes of Colour Art Studio in Pictou to teach them how to use mixed media and digital media transfers.
She chose acrylic mixed media methods because it offers a new and exciting way to convey their message, she said.
“They can speak through their art. I’ll give them the tools and hope they come up what they feel is cyber-bullying. It may be totally different than we (adults) feel is cyber-bullying.”
She’s hoping to have 10 teenagers involved.
“We would like to have the youth population be involved, as this dilemma has the greatest impact on them, and they, in turn, on us,” said Vienneau.
Some of the professional artists participating include Joy Laking, Joan Krawczyk, St. Clair Prest, Dawn McNutt, Lelia Sanford, Brian Atyeo, who is donating his piece to the cause, Carolyn Bedford, Denise Lynch, Rose Ferguson, and Alicia Parsons.
One of the plans for the show is to have three doors as people enter.
“One is closed, and that is the door some people would like to see remain closed. The second door will be open part way. Some will walk by, but some will try to see what is behind the door. The third door will be wide open with all the issues around cyber bullying plainly in view,” Vienneau said.
She hopes to see quotes from Martin Luther King incorporated into the exhibition and other suppressed leaders.
“Rehtaeh always posted sayings of Martin Luther King on the back of her door to help her get through the day, so we are going to ask some of the teens to pick a suppressed leader and pair it to one of the 400 kids that committed suicide in Canada and post their favorite saying on the door,” she said.
There will also be educational resources available.
Following the end of the exhibit at the Margaret George Gallery in The Celtic Circle, they’re hoping to bring it to Cole Harbour.
As well as creating a conversation on the one-year anniversary of Parsons’ death, the show will be raising money for the Rehtaeh Parsons Society which is working towards building a place in Cole Harbour for youth at risk, called the Rae of Light Centre.
Twenty per cent of the proceeds from the paintings sold will go to the cause.
As well as partnering with Roots for Youth and the Pictou Youth Group, they’re also working with the Pictou County Health Authority, who supplied a $2,000 grant for the event.
The exhibit opens on April 26 by invitation only.
It will be open to the public April 27 and runs until the end of May.
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