Morgan Cross / News staff
Stelly’s Secondary student Masayoshi Avery Redman Suzuki received ArtSea Community Art Council’s Dianne Cross Award for the Arts late June, the first of its kind dedicated to one outstanding graduating student in School District 63. The award was created in recognition of Dianne Cross’ time at ArtSea after her recent retirement from the board. Each year forward, it will be open for applications from any student attending Claremont, Stelly’s, Parkland, or S.I.D.E.S. who is interested in furthering their study in painting, sculpture, fibre, dance, drama, music, or voice. Applicants for the award must write a proposal for their project or program, and successful candidates must submit a final report on their accomplishments to ArtSea.
ArtSea Vice-President Lesley Turner said, “We’re always looking for opportunities to get involved in supporting the community and creativity.” The award is one way ArtSea, which focuses on promoting connections between art, culture, and community on the Saanich Peninsula, is reaching out to young artists.
Suzuki, recipient of the 2017 award, plans to further his exploration of the work he currently does, which uses a mixture of mediums while incorporating traditional Japanese art techniques with contemporary. This summer, he focuses on fine-tuning his skills for Concordia University this fall, where he will major in painting and drawing.
“In a lot of what I do, I’m trying to weave in older traditional Japanese work and use that for what I’m trying to say,” said Suzuki, whose artwork samples can be viewed at instagram.com/suzukiavery. As a child, Suzuki grew up watching his father, also an artist, but only became serious about the craft himself three years ago.
“Seeing him as an artist allowed me to think of art as a possible thing I could do,” said Suzuki. He took art classes at Stelly’s Secondary and was mentored by teacher Stephen Strutynski as well. “It’s not often that you get a teacher to really encourage kids. He does a great job of steering kids in the right direction, but also allowing them to work in what they want to do,” he said.
Suzuki hopes to achieve his Master of Fine Arts and pursue a university-level teaching career thereafter. While the $750 allowance that comes along with the Dianne Cross Award can be used for any supplies or programs required for artistic development, he will put it toward his education this fall.
He said, “It was really an honour to receive the award, and kind of a surprise as well because there are a lot of really strong kids I know applied. I know they deserve it as much as I did.”