Exploring History Through Art With Whistler Secondary

For better or worse, history is almost always learned via the written word. A new collaborative project between the Whistler Museum and Whistler Secondary School breaks this mold by exploring local heritage through visual media instead.

It all began in late September when Museum staff gave a presentation to Ms. Norrie’s Grade 11 Art class, providing an overview of Whistler’s history accompanied by 100 digitized photographs from the Whistler Museum’s archives. These images provided the inspiration and raw materials for the students’ creative focus over the ensuing weeks.

Hustle and bustle at Rainbow Lodge station, ca. 1920s.

The students were tasked with creating an original piece of art that expressed a clear statement about Whistler’s history. No simple replicas were allowed. Beyond that requirement the project was pretty much wide open, and the results have been predictably diverse.

Getting rad in the mountains is not a 21st century invention.

Without giving too much away (and with the projects still unfinished), the most popular method has been to create visual anachronisms, juxtaposing elements from different historical eras. Used effectively, this approach can convey strong insights into processes of cultural or environmental change.

For a young community like Whistler, our story remains very much a work in progress. These students, almost entirely first-generation Whistlerites, are thus in the rather unique position where they can contribute to our understanding of place and community in such a significant manner.

This valley became what it is today because of people who dreamed BIG.

To showcase their creative efforts, all finished works will be displayed in the Whistler Museum, and an opening reception will be held on Tuesday October 16th from 5:30-7:00pm. All are welcome, and light refreshments will be served. Afterwards, all artwork will be digitized and showcased here on the Whistler Museum’s blog.

This project was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Community Foundation of Whistler through their Community Grants Program.

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