Posted by: kbater | February 6, 2011

Magic and tradition – Students and their Art

Carole Harmon and Hana Kujawa with Hana’s photo in the Through the Lens Exhibit (top photo)

This is a picture of Carole Harmon and my daughter Hana Kujuawa.  Carole is a dear friend and is a third generation of famous Harmon Banff photographers.  Carole has watched Hana grow as a person and has encouraged her development and now in one more way – through photography.  Carole has a gallery in Banff in Harmony Lane.

This photo of Carole and Hana is from the opening last night of the Through the Lens program at The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.  Curator Craig Richards worked his magic with 25 students (10 from Canmore Collegiate, 11 from Banff Community High School, and 4 from Morley Community School).  Craig works with the students for 5 months – gives them cameras, as much film as they can shoot, teaches them some basic skills, takes them on field trips, teases them unmercifully and then teases out the artists that live within.

Craig is a master artist, mentor and jokester.  All three of these elements are necessary for this program to succeed.  Last night he identified that there are three qualities that people have to have to really produce –hard work, enthusiasm, and talent.  They have to have two of the three to be successful and one of them has to be enthusiasm.  I’d say Craig is projecting here as his major gift to the world and these kids is enthusiasm. 

This is the 14th year for the Through the Lens program and there have been 650 students participate in this program to date.

I had a chance to give an address to the audience and I said that as we transform education towards a 21st century approach, we need to focus in on whole person development.  Arts training is an important part of developing young people into citizens who have the capacity to see, communicate, collaborate, express, present, perform and help us transform our communities and societies into healthy, connected, vibrant eco-systems.  We need schools and communities to work together to create dynamic learning as it is too big a job to be left just to teachers and schools and it is too important to not build a robust, experience-based, collaborative, feedback-rich system to support this learning.

If you want to be blown away by amazing art, powerful learning, and a community approach to education – come see the show!

Through the Lens – February 5 – April 4, 2011
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

111 Bear Street, Banff,AB.

Main Gallery

2011 Through the Lens participants

 A few images from the students can be seen on these panels from the Through the Lens brochure:



  1. […] Craig’s energy and commitment are an exemplar to the children: how to proceed if you want to succeed. He also affirms a vote of confidence in each of the learners. Craig takes the students seriously, pays attention to their aspirations. The gift he gives to the Bow Valley children that he mentors is not only the beginning of mastery of an art but also insight into what is possible.  That is pure magic, like a unique moment caught in a camera lens. The lessons learned in Through the Lens will serve the kids for the rest of their lives, whether or not they find a career in photography. Hana Kujuawa, daughter of Board chair Kim Bater, took part in the program in 2011. Kim wrote an eloquent piece of praise. […]

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