The Grade 12 art class at Abbotsford Christian School with the two dumpsters they painted for the residents of the Rose Garden apartment complex. Photo courtesy of Abbotsford Christian School.

High school art students transform “Trash to Treasure”

Abby Christian Secondary students help neighbours add colour to “ugly” dumpsters

An apartment complex in Abbotsford has added some colour to their building’s surroundings thanks to the work of students at a neighbouring high school.

The Grade 12 art class at Abbotsford Christian School went out of their way to assist the residents of The Rose Garden apartment complex to paint two dumpsters sitting prominently at the entrance of their building.

The teacher and students jumped at the opportunity to help fix the problem, said art student Anna McCausland.

“By using our gifts and artistic abilities that we usually keep to ourselves, we got to actually use those to help others and see their smiles,” McCausland said.

The idea for the project, dubbed “Trash to Treasure” by the art class, began the previous Spring when members of the apartment strata sent an email to the school requesting help to fix the “ugly things” sitting in front of the building, said art teacher Jonathan Boer.

The art class visited the property in September and agreed to help.

“We spend a few weeks developing ideas and concepts for how they could be done,” Boer said. “You kind of have to think about how the two [dumpsters] might kind of relate.”

Boer said he separated his class of 12 students into six groups to work on 3D concept models to show the strata, who then voted on their favourite design.

The strata chose a graphic landscape design for the two dumpsters, one dumpster being the landscape at night and the other during the day.

It took the strata over an hour and a half to vote, said Velma Ma, whose design was eventually picked.

“It was pretty intense,” Ma said. “Every piece had its own benefit.”

“One of the reasons I chose a graphic design is because its going to be easy for the whole team to paint at the same time.”

Boer said the project was a good collaborative opportunity between neighbours.

“They are paying for the paint and we’re supplying the ideas, the labour and whatever tools [needed].”

He said other local companies also chipped in to help. Home Depot gave the school a discount on supplies and GFL Environmental gave the bins a primer before the students started painting.

After high school, Ma plans on attending the illustration program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

McCausland said while she doesn’t plan on making a living off it, art is something she’ll always return to.

“I’ll be creating things my entire life. It’s just so embedded in me that no matter what, I’ll always come back to art.”

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