Ninilchik junior Amy Klapak has been an artist for as long as she can recall.
"It's just something I really love to do. I remember winning a poster contest for traffic safety in kindergarten," she said. "But I didn't really get into painting until junior high."
Now, she's looking to build a career out of her childhood passions, hoping to attend art college in either Seattle or Minnesota and to pursue a career in graphic design.
She's already on her way with two paintings on display at the Kenai Fine Arts Gallery as part of the 13th annual Student Art Show.
Klapak's "Cerulescent," a painting of a woman inspired by a magazine advertisement and named for the bright blue background, and "Slought of Despond," a bold cyclops-style monster, are among nearly 200 student works of art displayed in the show.
Pieces are chosen on the school level by either the resident art teacher or a committee, and each district art teacher is allowed to bring 18 student works.
The show, sponsored by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, will be on display at the gallery, located at 816 Cook Street in Kenai, throughout the month of April.
Though the show is already open to the public, an opening reception will be held Friday at 6:30 p.m. The event will include snacks, drinks, live music and a presentation of awards to winning artists.
Skyview art teacher Sandra Lewis said the value of the show is that it recognizes the achievements of student artists.
"The community gets to view what students are doing," she said.
This ceramic palm tree will be on display this month in the Kenai Fine Arts Gallery as an example of middle school sculpture.
Photo by Jenni Dillon
Nikiski art teacher Dottie Sanders added that the show also highlights the art programs in the schools.
"The community needs to know we have incredibly good art programs in the schools that don't get recognized," she said.
Then there are the benefits to the students.
Lewis pointed out that many peninsula students go on to become professional artists. The show helps students like Klapak build portfolios to get on their way.
Also, some students who excel in art do not perform as well in other academic arenas, added Ann Wilson, Soldotna High's art teacher. For them, the show is a self-esteem builder.
Klapak said the show is an opportunity to receive feedback on her work.
"Nobody ever tells you what they really think," Klapak said. "(The show) gives me and other people a chance to see what everyone else is doing. It let's you know where you're at."
And, she added, surveying so many different pieces inspires new ideas.
"I'm just admiring the fact that they're all so different," said Terry McBee, Soldotna Middle School art teacher, "that students see different things."
The works were judged by three area professional artists earlier this week, and winners were notified of their awards. The winning artists will be honored at the opening reception Friday.
Chelsea Bailey of Kenai Central High School won best of show for the high school division.
Racheal Tussey of Homer Middle School won best of show for the middle school division.
Other winners included:
Kersti Poindexter, Ninilchik, first; Hillary Zobeck, KCHS, second; Rueben Floyd, Nikiski, third; and David Brown, KCHS, honorable mention, painting
Michael Svymbersky, Homer, first; Adam Green, Soldotna, second; Molly Eastham, Soldotna, third; Makena Roesh, Soldotna, honorable mention; and Skylin Wood, Skyview, honorable mention, drawing
Angela Pullen, Homer, first; Micheal Case, Homer, second; Angela Pullen, Homer, third; Chaunna Deitz, Homer, honorable mention; and Jennifer Senette, Soldotna, honorable mention, functional ceramics
Alicia Wood, Skyview, first; Peter Degraffenried, Homer, second; Angela Pullen, Homer, third, ceramic sculpture
Kim Massey, Skyview, first, Morgan Lyons, Skyview, second; and Ryan Rector, Skyview, third, open category
Deaglan Vann, Skyview, first; Erin Farrally, Skyview, second; and Adrienne Moonin, Seward, third, graphic design
Ryan Staab, Skyview, first; Heidi Schilling, Seward, second and third; Mariya Faumui, KCHS, honorable mention; and Caitlin Crandall, Homer, honorable mention, photography
Hai Venaas, Soldotna, first; Molly Eastham, Soldotna, second; and Rica Howarth, Soldotna, third, computer photography
Katie Daubney, Seward, and Reuben Floyd, Nikiski, tie for first; Trent Foldager, Seward, third; Kelly Belle, Homer, honorable mention; Kaleena Schouseiler, Skyview, honorable mention; and Chris Stroh, KCHS Alternative, honorable mention, sculpture
Natasha Sequim, Soldotna, second; Shanda Cundiff, Homer, third; Leeann Ellis, Homer, honorable mention, printmaking
Shannon Auldridge, Nikiski, first and Jessica Ralston, Nikiski, second, jewelry.
Les Krusen, Kenai, first; Patrick Bailey, Kenai, second; Savanna Bradley, Homer, third; and Kira Getty, Kenai, honorable mention, painting
Amirah Marey, Soldotna, first; Sean Twony, Soldotna, second; Alee Rowley, Kenai, third, sculpture
Allyssa Roach, Soldotna, first; Aubrey Dailey, Soldotna, second; Marlana McCown, Kenai, honorable mention, ceramics
Mariya Miller, Soldotna, first and Savanna Bradley, Homer, second, open category
Rebecca Kilfoyle, Soldotna, first; Cody Villa, Kenai, second; and Micah Perletti, Soldotna, third, printmaking
Sami Plastino, Soldotna, first; Elizabeth Denna, Soldotna, second; and Rebecca Kilfoyle, Soldotna, third, drawing.
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