The Kenai Fine Arts Center always is dedicated to celebrating the artwork of the community, but this month, it will focus on a slightly younger set of artists than normal.
The gallery is featuring the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District's 15th annual Student Art Show throughout the month. Pieces on display all were created by students taking art classes in the district and show a range of media, taste and talent.
"There's a large variety in the type of work done and a great show of the kids' skills," Skyview High School art teacher Sandra Lewis said during the show's official opening last week.
The show is divided into high school and middle school work, then segmented by categories, ranging from photography to painting to sculpture.
Most of the work came from assigned projects in area art classes. But that doesn't mean the show has a feeling of "sameness."
A whale hunting scene painted by 12th-grader Jolie Glaser of Seward High School received a teeacher's choice ribbon.
Photo by Jenni Dillon
There are everything from magazine scrap collages to full body-size sculpture to T-shirts to pottery and a few stops in between.
For example, Kenai Central High School junior David Brown took "Best of Show" in the high school division with a video the only entry of that medium. Entered in the "open" category, David's piece is an abstract film collage depicting a person's dream.
"This short film is about seeing into someone's dream, a nightmarish dream," David wrote in a summary that accompanies his video, "Frail Dreams."
In the middle school category, the same prize when to a sculpted and painted unicorn by Soldotna Middle School eighth-grader Sam Jones.
A lifesized sculpture of a woman sitting crosslegged on the floor earned an honorable mention for 12th-grader Emily Berezin of Skyview High School.
Soldotna Middle School eighth-grader Alyse Staley got a teacher's choice award for her collage.
Photo by Jenni Dillon
Several other pieces, many equally poinent and technically sound, adorn the gallery walls without ribbons.
"I always tell students, 'Don't be discouraged if you don't get an award," Lewis said. "Artwork is so subjective; it's hard as a juror to take your bias out of your choice. All the pieces are great."
The show is sponsored by KPBSD art teachers but judged by volunteer artists in the community.
While award winners re-ceived public recognition at the show's opening, as well as certificates, the show isn't about awards, Lewis said.
Rather, it's a time for students to take pride in their work and demonstrate the importance of art in education to the community.
"It's very important that if you feel art is important in your child's life, to talk to your legislators," Lewis told parents at the opening. "Don't let them cut the arts."
Lewis confessed the show lost two schools this year, with cuts to art programs at Nikiski Middle-Senior High and Kenai Middle schools.
Still, she said, the response was tremendous, both in submissions and turnout for the opening.
"People just flooded in," she said. "It was great to see."
The Kenai Fine Arts Center, 816 Cook Ave., is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, provided volunteers are available to staff the gallery. The Student Art Show will be on display through April 30.
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