Thunder Bay

First Nations art sought for school colouring books in northern Ontario

The Superior Greenstone school board is putting together a special colouring book for its students full of First Nations works of art.

Superior-Greenstone District School Board looking for Woodlands-style line drawings

Superior-Greenstone School Board is looking for submissions of art such as these works by Sheldon Tyance (left) and Deanna Therriualt. (Superior-Greenstone School Board)

The Superior-Greenstone school board in northwestern Ontario is putting together a special colouring book for its students full of First Nations works of art.

The board is looking for woodlands-style line drawings done on white paper and outlined in black marker. Artists will be paid for their submissions.

Nicole Richmond is the aboriginal liaison with the Superior-Greenstone school board. (Supplied photo)
Students will be encouraged to colour the pages and display their work on classroom walls as part of creating a welcoming environment for First Nations students, said the board's aboriginal liaison Nicole Richmond.

"I'm an artist myself so one of the things I think about is how do we get great art on the walls and for the students to be able to do the work themselves, it engages them, there's a mindfulness piece to colouring," Richmond said.

Up to 90 per cent of students in some schools in the region east of Thunder Bay are of Indigenous heritage and it's important to make them feel welcome, Richmond said.

"When I started to look around for First Nations or an Anishinaabe colouring book, I didn't find anything," she said. "So I got the idea to do this."

The board is looking for works depicting flowers, wildlife or activities on the land and water, such as canoeing. Richmond said there's already been a positive response to the call for submissions on Facebook.

"Most people are really interested just to [submit work] because they really want this art to be in schools and they really want help to support First Nations education," she said.

Selected artists will be paid for their work and the colouring book will be available to day cares, Friendship Centres and others who would like to use it, Richmond said.

The deadline for submissions is January 30th.