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Teacher accused of selling students’ artwork for his own gain

Feb 13

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The art industry is a marketplace for buyers and sellers to trade creations and artwork, some of which bear historical lineage. In 2023 alone, the top 100 pieces at auction brought in $2.4 billion. And while many artists dream of selling their works at auction, a group of young artists — students at a middle school in Canada — alleged that their teacher began lining his pockets by selling their hard work.

“They put their heart and soul in the artwork, and they get an “A,” a “B,” a “C” or a “D” on it, but he is getting $118 in his pocket,” said Joel DeBellefeuille, a father of one of the students.

Students at Westwood Junior High in Quebec contend that their art pieces, which were allegedly found to be listed as “creepy portraits” online, are class assignments done at the direction of art teacher Mario Perron. Perron has been accused of selling his student’s art for up to $151.

The 12 to 14-year-old students said their work was also being sold on merchandise, including mugs, t-shirts and phone cases. But as of Monday, Feb. 12, The Guardian reported that links to the artwork have been redirected to Perron’s paintings, and the students’ work cannot be purchased anymore.

According to local news outlets, the school board said it is aware of the situation and is taking the allegations very seriously, adding that an investigation is underway. The students have said they want an apology and to see how much, if anything, their pieces brought in.

Parents are looking for more transparency from the school and are calling for Perron to be fired. An intellectual property lawyer said that everyone’s work in Canada is protected by intellectual property laws, even students, meaning the pieces Perron tried selling were protected and never his to sell.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

THE HIGH-END ART INDUSTRY IS A MARKETPLACE FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS TO TRADE CREATIONS, PIECES OF ART, SOME OF WHICH BEAR HISTORICAL LINEAGE. 

IN 2023 ALONE, THE TOP 100 PIECES AT AUCTION BROUGHT IN 2-POINT-4 BILLION DOLLARS.

AND WHILE MANY ARTISTS DREAM TO SELL THEIR PIECES AT AUCTION. A GROUP OF YOUNG ARTISTS – STUDENTS AT A MIDDLE SCHOOL IN CANADA – SAY THEIR OWN TEACHER BEGAN LINING HIS POCKETS BY SELLING THEIR HARD WORK.

Joel DeBellefeuille: “THEY PUT THEIR HEART AND SOUL IN THE ARTWORK AND THEY GET AN “A”, A “B”, A “C”, OR A “D” ON IT, BUT HE IS GETTING $118 IN HIS POCKET.”

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

STUDENTS AT THE WESTWOOD JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL IN QUEBEC CONTEND THAT THESE PIECES – WHICH WERE ALLEGEDLY FOUND TO BE LISTED AS “CREEPY PORTRAITS” ARE CLASS ASSIGNMENTS DONE AT THE DIRECTION OF ART TEACHER – MARIO PERRON – WHO HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF SELLING HIS STUDENTS ART FOR UP TO 150-DOLLARS.

THE 12 TO 14 YEAR-OLD STUDENTS SAY THEIR WORK WAS BEING SOLD ON MERCHANDISE AS WELL, MUGS, T-SHIRTS, AND PHONE CASES.

BUT AS OF MONDAY, THE GUARDIAN REPORTS, LINKS TO THE ARTWORK HAVE BEEN REDIRECTED TO PERRON’S PAINTINGS, AND THE STUDENTS WORK CAN NO LONGER BE PURCHASED.

ACCORDING TO LOCAL NEWS OUTLETS, THE SCHOOL BOARD SAYS IT IS AWARE OF THE SITUATION AND AN INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY.

THE STUDENTS HAVE COME OUT SAYING THEY WANT AN APOLOGY AND TO SEE HOW MUCH, IF ANYTHING, THEIR PIECES BROUGHT IN.

PARENTS ARE LOOKING FOR MORE TRANSPARENCY FROM THE SCHOOL AND ARE CALLING ON PERRON TO BE FIRED.

AN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAWYER SAYING THAT EVERYONE’S WORK IN CANADA IS PROTECTED BY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAWS, EVEN STUDENTS. MEANING THE PIECES PERRON ALLEGEDLY TRIED SELLING ARE PROTECTED AND WERE NEVER HIS TO SELL

LOCAL OUTLETS SAY PERRON DID NOT RESPOND TO REQUESTS FOR COMMENT.