Wednesday, 22 May 2013 11:32

High-school artists have their opportunity to showcase talents

Written by  Jessi Gowan
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Art students in the southwest have a unique opportunity to showcase their finished products in a gallery exhibition setting with Art Gallery of Swift Current’s High School Art Show, from May 24 to June 30 at the West Wing Gallery location.

The exhibition features pieces in a variety of mediums, created by students from across the region.
“The motive of this exhibition is to give student-age artists the chance to show their work, because for an artist, a piece really isn’t complete until it has been shared,” explained Kim Houghtaling, director and curator with AGSC. “It’s been traditional for public galleries around the province to work with school divisions to make sure this opportunity is there for the students who want to take advantage of it. They’re not professionals, but they are learning and aspiring and this is a great incentive for them to do their best work. And for those who already know that they want to be artists, it’s really an important experience.”
Since developmental exhibitions for community artists and students don’t get a lot of sponsorship, it falls on the gallery to sponsor them through their earned revenues. The opening of the West Wing Gallery helped give the High School Art Show a consistent home. Through the help of local teachers, the exhibition has seen a great deal of support.
“It goes in cycles, really, depending on teacher changes and how many visual artists schools have each year,” Houghtaling noted. “Since the Cyber School has been offering photography and visual art programs, we have been a lot more participation that way, and we always see great submissions from SCCHS, Maverick, and Ponteix.”
The exhibition is also open to student-age artists working independently, as well. This year, the exhibition will feature strong drawings submitted by a young artist in Vanguard, and in the past, Houghtaling noted Hutterian artists have submitted works, as well.
“I’m looking at making an exhibition,” he said. “Teachers are looking at what challenge they gave their students, what kind of curriculum requirements they were dealing with and likely learned. Sometimes, students may have met the criteria perfectly and gotten a good mark, but the end product might not be as strong as an exhibition piece. It’s not about taking away from the education, it’s kind of two different things. I look at the strength and interest within each piece. If they happen to create a really strong piece of art that didn’t quite meet the assignment, that’s still okay.”
The exhibition opens this weekend, and offers a great look into what young artists are working on right here in the southwest.
“This celebrates their achievements in the visual arts, and helps to inspire them to carry on in their own practice,” Houghtaling added. “It’s not at school, it’s not in the hallways — this is a dedicated gallery space, shared with a public audience. It really elevates the importance of what they are doing.”

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