Los Angeles-based international artists Melly Trochez and Leo Eguiarte are impressed with the talents of South Canterbury teens. The pair hosted a workshop at Timaru’s Aigantighe Art Gallery on Friday, coinciding with the latest exhibition, ‘‘Artarama!’’, and the gallery’s popular Winter Lights Night festival. As part of the workshop, pupils from the district’s schools decorated masks. Miss Tochez said she was impressed by the finished products and was surprised by how much New Zealand’s children were exposed to art. ‘‘It’s an eye-opener, to how much earlier you are exposed to art [compared with in the US] and it showed today,’’ she said. Eguiarte, a printmaker at a large school in Pasadena, California, agreed. ‘‘They are very creative. ‘‘All their abilities were good, I think.’’ Tochez said she was also impressed by the children’s response to the ideas they shared with them. ‘‘I was impressed by their unique vision,’’ she said. Eguiarte said in the US, art education was declining and in some cases funding had been withdrawn from the arts and reallocated to other sectors. ‘‘Sometimes you have to go to special schooling and special classes to receive it,’’ Trochez said. The pair were in Timaru for a range of engagements, and would visit a selection of galleries in other parts of the country before returning home to the US, she said.