Tiah Tsai shows off her nature-inspired art piece during a class that teaches students how to make art out of recycled materials.

Local art academy inspires the artistan in every child

Students learn to find and apply inspiration from within

For millennia, humanity has wondered, what exactly is art? Is it a depiction of what we see and experience? Of what we feel? Perhaps it’s all of that, and then some.

Science can’t really explain it, as any art form comes from within; the dark matter of our minds that stitches it all together and puts it to the forefront of our subconscious.

Sookie Anisa Newell seeks to stimulate that dark matter, not only in herself, but in the community’s young minds through the Eaglearts Academy, a local summer arts camp for kids dedicated to personal and social transformation though the arts.

This is the first year the camp runs in Sooke, as it previously ran in Shawnigan Lake.

Newell also runs the Willow Tree Studio in Sooke, an arts studio offers art classes for kids.

On Sunday (June 12) she will be showcasing the work of all her students this year in a special event, Transformations: A children’s art exhibit, from 2 to 4 p.m., featuring music, refreshments and activities for kids.

Bringing people together and stimulating art in youth is what she’s always wanted to do.

“As an artist I am keenly interested in relationships, how things come together and when they do what happens,” Newell said, adding that it was this very curiosity that to her role as co-director of the art academy.

She called Eaglearts a place where “inspiration finds direction” and “creativity takes flight” between the child and the art piece they’re pursuing.

“We believe that every child is potentially ‘the light of the world’ and that contributing to the development of their creative capacities we are contributing to the community,” she said.

Having spent four years overseas in Southern China, Newell returned to Sooke to help care for her father, a long-time artist in Sooke, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her father’s ability to forge relationships and close connections with the community served as an inspiration to continue that legacy.

“He spent 10 years forging relationships and contributing to the beauty of this community through his art,” she said. “We spoke much in his last months about how I might contribute to the growth of this community and I began exploring.

Newell hopes the program will offer the children of Sooke between the ages of 6 and 14 an opportunity to explore their potential and cultivate their creativity in a safe and nurturing environment.

For more info on registration, email at eagleartsacademy@gmail.com.