This week, Clarion University opened its art gallery walls to the high school students of Clarion County. Ninety-five art pieces were displayed representing different artistic views of people, places and things.
“I left it wide open,” said Clarion professor Jim Rose. “Basically, it was anything the students wanted to do. The students were given a 22-inches by 30-inches sheet of white construction paper, and were given an opportunity to showcase any artistic concept they pleased. Some students used pencil and pen; some students chose paint and recycled magazines, but the results are quite remarkable.”
Clarion Area High School student Madison Thomas created an abstract art piece based on real-life students. One of those students was Clarion University’s Traesha Pritchard.
“I felt the art gallery showed that students are very gifted. It’s inspiring to see how someone’s interest can be shaped into a form of art, and it can speak such volumes,” Pritchard said.
Pritchard said she was in awe of Thomas’s ability to display the beauty of a culture that’s so different from her own.
Rose had a significant role in preparing the gallery for this particular exhibition.
He said, “It was great, and time consuming. I personally visited each art room and met the teachers and sometimes talked with the students. I wanted it to be personal with each school.”
Rose, along with the help of Melissa Kuntz and student workers, prepared this art show in the hopes that someone would be inspired and moved by the display of art from the viewpoints and voices of Clarion high school students.
Taylor Carter, Clarion University sophomore said, “It was so great to see such young talent. Some of the pieces were so good [that] I couldn’t believe young kids did them.” Taylor said she was interested in a piece of student art, but unfortunately it wasn’t one of the ones for sale.
“The goal of this art show is to give high school students a professional atmosphere to showcase their work to Clarion students and to the Clarion community,” student worker Kaitlyn Ellinger said. “I also think it’s interesting to see how different teachers teach their students. The teacher’s hard work definitely comes through on the student’s work.”
Ellinger helped Rose with the presentation of the artwork by preparing the art gallery to make it look as professional as possible. She said, “This art show makes me feel like a high school student all over again. I can look at students’ work and try and think about how they created it. I relate it back to myself when I was in high school. I expect the audience to perceive every artwork as a professional piece, but also as a student’s work with room to improve.”
Each art piece, in its uniqueness, creates an artistic enjoyment that any member of the community can appreciate and connect to. The art show will be open to the public until April 4. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, the exhibition is open from noon to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 2-5 p.m. Some art pieces are available for sale and can be purchased at the art gallery on site.