This April, people can feast their eyes on student artwork.
“Visual Feast,” the 26th annual Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Student Art Show is currently on display at the Kenai Fine Arts Guild until the end of the month.
An opening reception and award ceremony was held on April 2 to honor the more than 100 participants representing schools from the central peninsula and Seward.
Art teachers from peninsula schools nominated pieces from their respective classes to be put on display. The day before the opening reception, three prominent members of the peninsula art community — Cam Choy, Nicole Lopez and John Trofimuk — judged the pieces and determined the winners of each category. The nearly half-dozen categories included drawing, sculpture, photography, watercolor and ceramics.
The art was separated into two divisions – high school and middle school. In the middle school division, Skyview eighth grader Christopher Hogness took home the “Best of Show” award for his painting titled “Fall Birch Forest.”
Hogness, who was participating in his first show, said he was surprised to receive the top award for his piece.
“It’s just a birchwood forest,” he said. “It kind of turned into something bigger than I thought it would, but I’m still really happy with the outcome.”
While the exhibition is the first time many students have displayed their work, others have participated more than once.
Last year, Kenai Central High School senior Maria Schloeman had her work chosen to be displayed in the “Photography” category. This year, she took home second place in the “Printmaking” category.
“I’m feeling good,” she said.
Andrea Eggleston, art teacher at Skyview Middle School, said she enjoys the annual show because it allows her to watch the progress of both current and former students.
“It’s fun to be able to follow their artistic school career,” she said. “It’s very impressive.”
Judge Cam Choy, an Associate Professor of Art at Kenai Peninsula College, was also impressed with the level of skill on display.
“There’s some really amazing work,” Choy said. “It was difficult coming up with the prizes. There’s a lot of effort, a lot of talent and a lot of skill. This is really nice work.”
Choy, who was judging the event for the first time, said he hoped to see the students continue making art in the future. He said he would like to see some of the artists continue their studies at the college.
In addition to artists and parents, many members of the community attended the exhibition’s opening.
Among those taking in the art was Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Sean Dusek. He said he was proud of the students and wanted to show support for the artists and the teachers involved.
“It’s a great opportunity to see the work that our kids do,” he said. “It’s exciting to see how creative they are. This is fantastic.”
Dusek said the event wouldn’t have been possible without the district’s art teachers.
“I really appreciate the teachers,” Dusek said. “They put a lot of work into putting the show on, and I’m sure they’re very proud of their kids, too.”
Reach Ian Foley at Ian.firstname.lastname@example.org