Rails End Gallery’s newest exhibition opened May 24 with a crowd of high school students and their parents.  

It is Haliburton Highlands Secondary Schools’ (HHSS) senior art show and this year’s theme is “out of focus.”  

“We did some creative brainstorming and common threads seemed to be interests in memories and nostalgia and the filters that influence our perception of those,” said Karen Gervais, a HHSS art teacher.  

The students had about three months to put together their art for the show and make sure it represented the story they wanted to tell.

 Grade 11 student Monique Dulong focused on her memories of Haliburton by painting two maps of the county.  

“The first one is my memories of it now, it’s really clear and everything,” she says. “The second one is my memories of it when I’m older and moved away. So, it will be foggier and some parts are hard to see.”  

She said she loved seeing her and her classmates work hanging in the gallery.  

Dulong isn’t the only one who used memories as a basis for her art.  

Dawson Hutchings, Gr.11, painted his art through the perception of a child.  

“When you’re a child, you perceive things differently and it’s all colourful and things are different shapes and sizes,” he said.

The theme “out of focus” made him think of children and how they see the world around them.  

Ashley Ackerblade, Grade12, took a more social approach to this year’s theme with an Instagram-inspired painting that featured layered material to represent the “filters” people put on themselves. 

“So, my piece really focuses on the social issues surrounding social media and how we always want to put a filter or hide our imperfections,” she said. “There’s different layers that you can pick up and underneath is a really real self portrait of myself.”  

Gervais and Haliburton School of Art + Design professor Rose Pearson teach the dual credit course at the high school so art students can get a high school and college credit at the same time.  

The students will receive a credit called ‘design one’ to carry on with them to postsecondary.  

To pass, students not only had to put together their works of art, they also had to design the installation for the exhibition. Pearson says it feels great to see all her students’ hard work on the walls of the gallery.  

The students work will be on display until June. 2.

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