FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fine Arts teacher at Bert Ambrose Elementary, Cassandra Mervyn, says the creation of her ArtHouse was a gradual one.

Mervyn says it began when she started teaching in 2002 and noticed there weren’t any events or clubs for local artistically inclined kids.

“Then it was just kind of a natural progression. [Growing up] I was the artsy kid, so I was like, well, I’m just going to make something that I would have enjoyed,” Meryn said.

Mervyn then began hosting art shows with her class in spring and would invite her student’s parents to attend.

“Seven years ago, I just started doing shows for kids out of my home just on the breaks because I still teach. So spring break, summer break, I do like a little Christmas thing,” Mervyn stated.

Mervyn started hosting shows out of her basement and in her yard so that kids would have the opportunity to showcase their work.

She says there’s something about kids’ art that she loves.

“There’s just certain ones that you put on a black background or in a frame, and it’s just a keeper.”

She says her love of art began at a young age, drawing at the kitchen table.

“My grandma, I say she’s the first Miss Mervyn because she had craft supplies for me, and I grew up just crafting, drawing, and colouring at her kitchen table. I swear she saved everything I made in her whole house,” Mervyn reflected.

“I guess it must come from that because my mom was like that too, like a little less, but she would always have like our stuff up. They just really thought that everything we did was awesome, and I loved that. I do that for other kids too.”

This year, Mervyn’s ArtHouse program celebrates its seventh anniversary, and, for the first time, an open house will be held at Festival Plaza instead of at Mervyn’s home, which she believes will elevate the show.

“To be able to go to the outdoor Festival Plaza, it’s so cool because I have like three classes, ten kids per class, so, thirty kids with their parents, and we can just have that big space to have them walk around and look at the art pieces,” Mervyn said.

The ArtHouse’s Open House will be held on March 24th from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., with community members invited to attend.

The show will feature work from Ms. Mervyn’s ArtHouse students, live music by Dana Pederson, and snacks and drinks for guests.

There will also be a bake sale with funds going towards Airbnb for refugees fleeing Ukraine.