NICHOLAS PESCOD/The News Bulletin Yvonne Vander Kooi

NICHOLAS PESCOD/The News Bulletin Yvonne Vander Kooi

Youth arts program embracing new disciplines

Free program open to teenagers in the Nanaimo area.

During the First World War the Allied forces were looking for ways to avoid being spotted by the Germans, especially on the water, as maritime travel was essential in those days.

One of the ways the Allied forces attempted to avoid detection was by painting their warships in strange patterns consisting of lines or stripes, in what became known as dazzle camouflage.

“They painted ships with these kind of designs as a way of confusing the enemy and to make it difficult for them to pinpoint them on the waters because of the illusion that it created with the patterning,” said Yvonne Vander Kooi, Nanaimo Art Gallery art education coordinator.

Although the Nanaimo Art Gallery is certainly not at war with anyone or painting warships, the idea of dazzle camouflage is the basis behind an upcoming youth art workshop of the same name.

“We’re playing around with this notion of transformation, disguise, identity and turning it on its head,” Vander Kooi said.

Dazzle Camouflage is a four week art immersion program for youth between the ages of 15 and 19. The program will take place from July 20 until Aug. 14., with participants receiving a $300 honorarium upon completion.

Students will work with professional artists to learn about traditional disciplines as well as newer disciplines.

“It is a contemporary art immersion that embraces not just your traditional disciplines like painting and drawings, but sculpture, installation, design, photography, video, stop film and animation,” Vander Kooi said.As technology becomes more and more prevalent in young people’s lives, Vander Kooi says it is important for the gallery to embrace digital media.

“We are living in an age where youth have access to all kinds of images. The social media and digital media world is huge,” she said. “We’re embracing that as part of their learning in these various art disciplines by using digital media as a way of creating art and telling a story.”

Dazzle Camouflage is a completely free program. The gallery received funding from the B.C. Arts Council and will be hosting the program this summer and next.

Following the completion of the  program, students will showcase their work at an exhibit that will be held at the gallery.

While anyone who meets the requirements can apply, the program is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in arts or study arts at a post-secondary institution.

Vander Kooi says students who participate in the program will gain experience that will help them going forward in their artistic careers.

“They will have come out of a pretty unique experience that will have given them exposure to different disciplines, maybe disciplines that they haven’t tried before,” Vander Kooi said.

Dazzle Camouflage takes place at the Nanaimo Art Gallery from July 20 until Aug. 14.

Prospective applicants must provide a portfolio of their work. The application deadline is June 30.

For more information, including how to apply, please visit

arts@nanaimobulletin.comFollow @npescod on Twitter

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