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Young artists shine in High School Art Show

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By Sara Miller

Many famous artists will tell you they have been drawing since they could hold a pencil, but their true passion for art was cultivated in a more formal setting — their school art classes. Often, students put brush to canvas or pen to paper for many years but are able to hone their areas of interest or their artistic perspective when under the tutelage of a thought-provoking instructor. Our mountain area schools have some amazing art teachers, and their inspiration will shine through in the work displayed at the upcoming High School Art Show at the Center for the Arts Evergreen.

The show, which runs from March 4-17, will showcase some of the best work from the art departments at Platte Canyon, Evergreen, Conifer and Clear Creek high schools. Attendees will see originals works created by more than 50 students, as well as works from each of the high school art teachers. The show features two- and three-dimensional works that run the gamut from pastel to watercolor to handmade jewelry and sculpture.

The show will be judged by local artist Virginia Unseld, who, in addition to being a practicing artist herself, was an art educator for many years. Unseld won the Colorado High School Art Educator of the Year award in 1996. As the show’s judge, Unseld will award a first prize for each school, several honorable mentions and a Best in Show cash prize.

“Virginia works so well with students. She was most recently the artist-in-residence at Wilmot Elementary School. She has a great feel for student work,” says Sarah Scott, coordinator of education and community outreach at the Center for the Arts Evergreen. 

The center will host an opening reception on March 4 from 5 to 8 p.m., and the awards will be given at 6:30 p.m. Two student music groups, from Platte Canyon and Evergreen high schools will perform at the reception.

In the spirit of CAE’s mission to bring attention to all of the arts — both visual and performing — the center will host a Poetry Jam/Open Mic Night in conjunction with the High School Art Show. All middle school or high school students are invited to sign up and perform on Thursday, March 10.

The Poetry Jam isn’t the only event that will include middle school students.  The sixth-graders at Evergreen Middle School have created an art installation that will be on display throughout the show. The sculptural installation, titled “Twittering and Tweeting,” challenged the two sixth-grade art classes to create a three-dimensional bird inspired by four thematic words and found objects. The results are whimsical and interesting.

“The students had to create a visual interpretation of the four thematic words they chose.  Some examples are: Fire-Authority-Spirit-Speed or Pink-Texture-Girly-Sparkly. They built the armatures for their sculptures, covered them with aluminum foil and plaster gauze materials and then brought them to life with beads, feathers, sequins and lots of other found objects I had in my classroom,” says Ann Simpson, the art teacher at Evergreen Middle School. 

Simpson’s students will also have work on display in the CAE Community Room during the High School Art Show. These pieces are three-dimensional plaster gauze hands holding found objects and hanging mobiles and stabiles made in a mixed-media style.

Student art in Conifer

Although not directly connected with the High School Art Show, the Center for the Arts Evergreen is pleased to have inspired and supported other high school art students in the community. 

“We awarded a grant to a group of students from Conifer High School who wanted to curate a show of their own artwork at an off-site location,” says Sarah Stockman.

Thanks to Splish Salon in Conifer, the show will host at opening reception on Thursday, March 3. Student artwork will be available for purchase and will hang on the walls of the salon until March 31. The grant money was used in areas that helped the students learn practical arts marketing skills. The students created and printed all of their fliers, advertisements and invitations.  They had copies of the artwork professionally printed so the work could be sold in multiples. There will be live music and refreshments at the reception, as well as opportunities for the community to purchase artwork and win prizes donated by Splish.

“We have worked with students at Conifer High School before, and we are so pleased to be able to continue giving back to the community by supporting our budding local artists,” says Splish manager Kristin McSherry.

March will be filled with student artwork, thanks to local educators, businesses and the Center for the Arts Evergreen staff, who have “dedicated themselves to enriching the art experience in our mountain community” through exposure to art by emerging artists like our very own children.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.