Local artist and young painters help raise funds

By Jessica Dempsey

May 12, 2017 3:09 PM

Local artist Danielle Vachon worked with youth last week to create beautiful paintings, which were then sold to one buyer for $1,250, with funds going towards the Lloydminster Sexual Assault & Information Centre’s Little Bear’s Purpose. Submitted Photo

A local artist is paying it forward within the community.
Danielle Vachon, took part in Paradise Hill School’s Aboriginal Day, as she spent an hour with students from Grades 1 to 6. 
“We did six big canvases. The kids all incorporated their version of aboriginal history and everything like that. They painted around the whole canvas,” she explained.
After she took the paintings, stretched them and put hangers on them, she decided why not sell them for a good cause.
“What I said was if I’m going to finish them and sell them, we should maybe do something with it, and it helps the kids realize we can do something no matter what it is. It really helps open their mind that being creative and the little things can help just as much as anything big,” said Vachon.
The organizations the students choose were the Lloydminster Sexual Assault & Information Centre’s Little Bear’s Purpose.
A local man in Lloydminster ended up buying all six paintings, and $1,250 was raised for the organizations.
“I’m glad it went the way it did,” she said. “I’m glad we have support in the community for these types of things. It’s not every day you can reach out with a painting from a Grade 1 class and sell it for a good amount of money.”
She wanted the pieces to be all sold together, which ended up happening.
“They fit so well together as a collage, and he had seen them and he was excited about every single one. He got attached, he was like ‘you can’t separate them,’” she said.
“They are pretty proud that their art sold,” she added about the students.
Vachon herself paints a lot of aboriginal artwork, so coming in to help guide the students was a no-brainer for her, especially since she had a connection to the school.
“I actually went to school in Paradise Hill, in Grade 3,4,5 so it worked out to go back there and see some of my old teachers. It was nice,” she said.
The day was an exciting one, as all the students were able to make their mark on the art.
“I told the kids there are no rules to the artwork. Whenever I paint, I don’t paint for people to love it. I paint what I want,” Vachon said.
“Whatever you are making is just a representation of yourself, so you have to give it your all. Seeing them and seeing them paint is just a direct reflection of why I do what I do.”
On the canvases, there were eagles, bears, buffalo, totem pulls, tepees and more.
“Everything you can think of is on them,” she noted. “The cool thing about them is I got the hangers put on four ways on the back, so he can turn them at any point in time and move them around. They will look like a new painting because there is so much going on.”
Overall there were 107 students who participated in making the six paintings.
“The rule was you can help someone’s painting, but you can’t wreck it. If you want to add designs to someone’s teepee you can, but you can’t wreck it,” she mentioned.
As for doing a similar project again, Vachon said she hopes to, as she has plans to work in the City of Cold Lake and Onion Lake Cree Nation.
“Hopefully everything I do with children, maybe we can make a donation. It would be cool to keep that in mind,” she said.
While growing her artistic talents, Vachon noted she had amazing support from the community, and this was her way of paying it forward and giving back as much as could.

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