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Charlie Rapsky gives the gift of art

“Artists never die,” Rapsky said. “I'm going to be hanging around a lot after I'm gone on people's walls.” Besides, it's a gift to spend time plying his craft at his alma mater 70 years after graduation, he said.
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Artist Charlie Rapsky works on a mural at Sudbury Secondary School. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

“Artists never die,” Rapsky said. “I'm going to be hanging around a lot after I'm gone on people's walls.”

Besides, it's a gift to spend time plying his craft at his alma mater 70 years after graduation, he said.

The mural features an Arctic scene with a polar bear and the north star — an appropriate subject matter, as Sudbury Secondary's mascot is a polar bear, and its sports teams are called the North Stars.

He's being helped by a group of the school's visual arts students Rapsky has nicknamed his “Charlie's Angels.”

Rapsky admits this has been a challenge for him, as he isn't as patient with young people as he once was, but said it's been refreshing.

“It revitalized even an old fossil like me,” he said, adding that one of the joys of being at the end of his career is passing on the torch to young people.

One of Rapsky's “Charlie's Angels” is 16-year-old Grade 10 Sudbury Secondary student Ryan Scanlon, who said working with the more experienced artist is a dream come true.

“It means a lot to me that I got the opportunity to work with such a good talent,” he said, adding that Rapsky taught him a number of new skills, including how to blend paint and how to clean brushes.

Sudbury Secondary principal Bob Deeth said it was a group of students doing a project on Rapsky's work that asked him if he'd be willing to do a mural.

“He said this would be the perfect gift to Sudbury Secondary from him,” he said.

Deeth said he thinks it's absolutely fabulous Rapsky has come back to his old school to mentor students.

“It's invaluable experience for our kids to work with somebody like that,” he said.


Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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