Harvey Renaud – ACA Teaching Awards – School Event (Visual Display)

In 1995, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art mounted a show called “Moving Beauty.” Instead of canvases and traditional art forms, the public was treated to an exhibition of the automobile as sculpture. Museum Director Pierre Théberge offered no apologies. “The car is so much a part of our lives that we really don’t see it for what it is,” he explained. “I wanted to get people to step back and look at the car as an object that has been conceived and designed—created, in short.”
When Merivale High School’s Transportation Technology teacher Harvey Renaud suggested that we give Merivale’s first ever entry into the Richmond Fair’s annual demolition derby a fresh coat of paint, stylized school colours and graphics, as well as an opportunity for all the students to leave their mark on the chasis— we had a unique opportunity to explore the idea of the car as art object.
Renaud supervised the transition of the automobile, a 2005 Toyota Matrix, so that it would pass all the safety regulations to take part in the competition. This involved removing all glass and also welding shut all points of entry to the vehicle. After the automotive work was completed and the safety features were installed, students gave the car a base coat of white paint and applied graphics with cardboard stencils prepared by the art department with acrylic and spray paint. The vehicle was then taken to the front of the school to give Merivale students and staff an opportunity to leave their mark on the car as canvas.
Mr. Renaud served as the driver, and chose several senior Transportation Technology students to act as his pit crew at the Richmond Fair. Merivale’s terrific Toyota finished a respectable second in competition. This very unconventional art project was able to capture the attention of not only students and teachers — but also the competitors and spectators at the Richmond Fair where Merivale’s entry was voted “Best Looking Car in Competition”.