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Northlands Park - Memories Worth Keeping
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School Art Displays

Art displaysNorthlands Park has been a seasonal home to school art displays and competitions since the early 1900s. In its inception, students at various grade levels were eligible for entrance into several competitive categories, including "manual arts" and "household arts." These, in turn, featured different classes covering a wide range of items.

While students from all grade levels were encouraged to participate, judges and spectators were particularly impressed with the handiwork generated by high school seniors.

The Edmonton Exhibition Association (EEA) was so keen on student participation in these events that, in 1929, it officially 'invited' every child under 18 to attend, free of cost, on a certain day. This kind of publicity, and the flurry of submissions it generated, ensured that the number of student displays and competitions grew.

Art showThe promotion worked better than planners had hoped and the volume of submissions soon grew beyond the EEA’s capacity to display them all. By 1938, organizers were looking at a critical space shortage, which could only be rectified through the construction of a new building.

24 years later, a successive group of organizers was faced with the same challenge. By 1962, age and wear were having their effects on the newest exhibit space. The EEA also feared the completion of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) would increase submissions to the point where the existing building, even if it remained structurally sound, could not house them.

Kids WorldThe EEA responded by strengthening its community relationships. By this time, officials had cemented financial partnerships with the Public and Separate School Boards, working closely with professional teachers who oversaw the displays and ensured their success. The association hoped that everyone could cooperate on solving the space issue through this arrangement.

Even after organizational priorities began to shift, planners responsible for displays and exhibits worked hard to keep a place for school and youth art. 1985 saw the "International Youth Year," a Northlands' creation designed to celebrate the exhibition of children’s arts and crafts projects. Youth activity plans went equally well the following year, with the organization receiving about 2,000 entries.

School art displayAs part of their ongoing effort to become the premier exhibition site in Western Canada, while still serving communities close to home, Northlands leaders have placed a strong emphasis on student growth through hosting various youth groups and displays.

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