This project supports prime objectives of Confederation Centre Art Gallery-to reinforce the importance of art education for youth, in particular, and to develop the awareness of art and culture, generally. Initiated in 1998, Telling Stories represents the cooperation of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and the Prince Edward Island Department of Education. Developed by Senior Curator Shauna McCabe, a print version of the program is currently being used at the Grade 8 level throughout provincial schools. Drawing from the gallery's collection of over 15000 works by Canadian artists, the program explores aesthetic aspects of the work in relation to the art's social, cultural, and historical context. With funding from the Canadian Culture Online program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, this precedent setting relationship between education and arts institutions was taken to another level, further increasing accessibility of the gallery's collection nationally and internationally through digitisation.
The main purpose of Telling Stories is to address the growing need for the awareness of a diversity of aspects of Canadian history and culture, to increase visual and media literacy, as well as to encourage critical thinking and self-expression. Complementing 4000 works of art with 400 lesson plans generated by a team of educators, the program uses the Confederation Centre Art Gallery collection and works of art from gallery collections across Canada to explore the symbols and icons that are used in the art to tell stories about the geographical, historical, and cultural make-up of Canada. Presenting history and heritage to students and the public in an enriching, dynamic fashion, the project foregrounds the role art plays in a society and its potential in interpreting and responding to important ideas and issues.