Romance and Rigour
STS Elementary School Art teacher Mike O’Brien has a passion for creating art that inspires discussion and provides imagery worthy of reflection; his latest work, Romance and Rigour, which now hangs in the STS rotunda, certainly does both of these things. This project began when Mike was approached by fellow colleague, Brian Uzick, regarding the celebration of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir’s 50th Anniversary. The conversation circled around a possible public art piece that might reflect the entirety of the STS experience.
Having taught visual arts at STS for 16 years, Mike reflected on the wide variety of opportunities that STS offers, and that became the focus of his inspiration. The drawing he submitted provided the seed of an idea that became Romance and Rigour, an eight-foot diameter wooden relief carving featuring an array of independent pieces, all coming together to form a circle.
Each section contains an educational mosaic of carved images that reflect the span of academic, extra-curricular, and lifestyle experiences that can be found on the STS campus. The individual pieces are composed of local, national, and international types of wood, and the colourful combination of these woods, as well as the details carved into them, are an expression of the seemingly endless potential of opportunities that STS offers. They are also a vivid representation of the global family that makes our School so special.
Mike felt that Romance and Rigour would provide a more inclusive opportunity for our community to discuss what details might also be placed on the carving, thereby forging as many personal connections to the art piece as possible. He would like to thank everyone who took the time to submit their ideas — it is with their help that this work will be enjoyed by students, faculty, staff, and their families for generations to come.
On your next visit to the STS campus, be sure to stop by the rotunda to view Romance and Rigour in all of its beauty. We guarantee that you will notice a new detail — or discover another chapter of our story — every single time.
“Each section contains an educational mosaic of carved images that reflect the span of academic, extracurricular, and lifestyle experiences that can be found on the STS campus.”