American author Isaac Asimov once said, “It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.” The same holds true with artists and those who champion the arts. In the case of the Center for the Arts Evergreen, it is obvious the staff and board have caught the imaginations of hundreds of students throughout our mountain communities. The annual High School Art Show, which opened March 15, was full of these planted seeds of artistic inspiration. Thanks to CAE’s tireless support of our local school art programs, these seeds are flowering in our young people.
The Center for the Arts Evergreen kicked off the school year by partnering with Evergreen Fine Art in September. Evergreen Fine Art hosted Weekend in the West, when 60 well-known artists and sculptors from around the country participated. CAE helped coordinate “The Masters of Today and Tomorrow,” a sale and auction that featured work from local fifth-grade students and the professional artists. The works of art were converted to china plates available for sale and auction during Weekend in the West.
The dollars raised at the event were matched by the Evergreen Rotary and benefited CAE’s Art in Schools Grants. This program offers important dollars to encourage special arts projects in our mountain area schools. As a result, CAE gave more than $3,000 to seven local schools: Conifer High School, Evergreen Country Day School, Evergreen High School, Evergreen Middle School, Rocky Mountain Academy, West Jefferson Elementary and Wilmot Elementary. Grants supported visiting professional artists, a month-long art celebration, and an in-depth study of lampworking and mosaic techniques.
CAE’s support for our local schools continued this past weekend at the opening of the annual High School Art Show. The show contained work from art students at four local high schools: Evergreen, Conifer, Clear Creek and Platte Canyon. Pieces were selected by art teachers to represent each school in this juried show. Students in all grades explored media such as wire sculpture, woodworking, acrylic and watercolor painting, copper jewelry making, photography, encaustic painting, and a printmaking technique called linocut.
The show was juried by two members of CAE’s curatorial committee, and honorable-mention ribbons were awarded along with cash prizes sponsored by Johnson & Associates, attorneys-at-law in Evergreen. Proud art teachers stood by in a room packed with students, parents and community art lovers as the winners were announced.
Best of Show was awarded to Mitch Waibel, a senior at Conifer High, whose mixed-media sculpture was titled “High School Bully.”
Many pieces were labeled with the initials “NFS” (not for sale). Students like Ansel Kilcullen, a junior at Evergreen High, planned to give the geometric pendant earrings he crafted from copper to his mother. Other pieces, however, were labeled with prices, and some even contained the coveted red “sold” sticker as local art lovers snatched up works of art from these emerging artists.
Ann Simpson, art teacher at Evergreen Middle School, was thrilled to play a part in the journey of these student artists. She reconnected with former student Nora Grosbach, now a junior at Evergreen High. Grosbach’s wire sculpture, titled “Trust Yourself,” dangled from the ceiling.
“Nora is a gymnast,” said Simpson, referring to Grosbach’s tumbling figure created from carefully wrapped wire. “You can really see these kids putting themselves into their art. It’s exciting to see this type of personal story being told through art.”
Simpson encouraged her own students to tell their personal stories. Evergreen Middle School had three collections on display in the CAE’s hallway gallery. Seventh-graders created ceramic masks and faces. Eighth-graders researched rock art from around the world and created their own rock art using acrylic and watercolor paints to simulate rock art. The eighth-graders also participated in the “Collections” project in which they were asked to turn a collection of items into a work of art. These pieces ranged from giraffes constructed from paperclips to a mixed-media landscape created from torn paint sample chips.
Regardless of the artists’ ages or their chosen media, Friday’s show made it clear that our mountain schools’ education goes far beyond the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Students are not only learning about our world through the study of these building-block subjects, but they are exploring how they fit in this world by expressing themselves through art. Our community can thank our inspired teachers for much of this inspiration. We can also thank champions of the arts like the Center for the Arts Evergreen for providing much-needed financial support and a venue in which the seeds of artistic imagination can come to fruition.
The High School Art Show runs through the end of March at the Center for the Arts Evergreen. For more information on this or the Arts in Schools grant program, visit www.evergreenarts.org.
Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.
· Mackenzie Skold, senior at Evergreen High, mixed-media sculpture called “Butterflies in Your Stomach, Wings on Your Feet, Broken Heart.”
· Ali Souder, senior at Evergreen High, mixed-media titled “Mental Growth.”
· Natalie Garza, sophomore at Conifer High, acrylic painting titled “More Than What it Seems.”
· Justin DeMarco, sophomore at Platte Canyon High, watercolor painting titled “Leaving Empty Space.”
· Jody Nelson, senior at Clear Creek High, photograph titled “American Pine.”
· Ashley Stein, sophomore at Conifer High, photograph titled “When the Sun Goes Down.”
· Elizabeth Goss, junior at Evergreen High, altered book titled “Ferris Wheel.”
· Annissa Guerrero, junior at Platte Canyon High, photograph titled “Honey Bee.”