The ‘monsters in my head’: Monster Mayhem at Charlotte Street Art Centre showcases children’s artwork

Paige Neves’ piece “Monster City” is one of several submissions from George Street Middle School on display in the Charlotte Street Arts Centre. Photo: Angela Bosse/The Aquinian

The Monster Mayhem art exhibit at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre has given elementary and middle school students a chance to bring their ‘inner monsters’ to life on paper.
The exhibit, which is running for its second year, features art from approximately eight elementary and middle schools around Fredericton.
Schools submitted group and individual student artworks depicting monsters of all shapes, sizes and colours.
Meagan Fanjoy, events and marketing co-ordinator for the arts centre, said the project started last year as a way to liven up the space during the haunted tours that happen in the building during Halloween time.
“Usually we don’t have any artwork up during the Haunted Tour because we can’t have anything damaged during this time. So we took it as a good advantage to get kids’ artwork up in here,” she said.
Peter Gorham is a kindergarten teacher at Park Street Elementary. It is his second year submitting artwork from his class for the exhibit.
Gorham said last year, three classes at the school worked together to create what he calls a “monster” piece – 90 sculptures of monsters each built with a juice box.
This year participation from Park Street Elementary has grown from three classes to nine.
“Hopefully next year we’ll have every teacher in every classroom,” Gorham said.
Gorham describes himself as somewhat of a “frustrated art teacher.”
“We try to make a place for art education in elementary school, and certainly lots of good work is being done out there but there is still a lack of confidence in many generalist teachers … But it is projects like this that really do enrich the situation,” he said.
Gorham said there are no elementary teachers in New Brunswick specializing in art that he is aware of, but if there were, he would be doing that.
“I think it’s very important as part of a rounded education. Without creativity, where are we?”
Annina Linnansaari, a towheaded kindergarten student at Park Street Elementary drew a purple monster that was part of a framed collaborative piece done by her class.
“It’s kind of like an alien monster,” she said, adding that it was a friendly alien.
Linnansaari said she likes doing art because “you can paint and stuff like that, you can be creative.”
“I like to do stuff other people don’t do,” she said when asked why she drew her monster the way she did.
Paiges Neves is a Grade 6 student at George Street Middle School. Her piece “Monster City” is on display in the gallery.
Neves said her inspiration began with cutting out an outline of a cityscape that she drew, and then finding a way to add a monster to the scene.
Her monster is green and hairy, with three eyeballs and a big mouth full of pointy teeth.
“I came up with the monster in my head,” Neves said.
She said she always has liked art and enjoys painting and drawing the most, and said she likes to see her artwork on display.
“It’s very nice for people to get to have a chance to have their art in places like famous buildings and stores.”
The gallery opening also included a reading of There and Back Again: A Herman’s Tale, a monster story by Fredericton’s newest children’s author Paul McAllister, as well as festive Halloween snacks for the young artists.
The exhibition opened on Oct. 14 and will run until Nov. 7.

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