- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Theresa Alo’s ceramics II class is always busy.
Chatting students usually work on projects on their own while clustered around tables, a former student might pop by at the end of the day to visit Alo at North Point High School, and on a recent Monday she was preparing select works that will be on display during the Six Picks art show.
Running from Jan. 25 to Feb. 10 at the Mattawoman Creek Art Center in Smallwood State Park in Marbury, the 15th annual show features the art work of the students in the county’s six public high schools.
Each art teacher in each high school can pick up to five pieces to put in the show with categories in black and white photography, digital photography, painting, drawing and 3-D art like ceramics or sculptures.
“We have some very talented students here,” Alo said. “You can take all the science and math classes but it’s the creative people that are going to land the jobs.”
Students are aware of the art show, with the works of older students usually nabbing spots because younger students are still developing their skills, said North Point art teacher Sarah Dohne.
Art is “the type of work that they can put a lot of themselves into,” she said. “It’s authentic emotion.”
Amanda Burke, a senior who wants to study photography at the Art Institute of Washington, has three pieces in the show this year, the first year she has had any work accepted.
A ceramic teapot in an Asian-inspired box, a painting and a photograph.
“All my other classes bore me,” Amanda admitted.
“With art, I show myself through my work. We’re the generation who is going to come up with the new stuff,” she said.
“The importance of art education cannot be overstated,” said Barbra Stepura, chairwoman of the show. “Art education gives students the opportunity to express themselves in a personally creative way. It gives them an outlet for receiving constructive feedback about their work. Positive reinforcement leads to enhanced self worth. Art education enlivens our community.”
The show, held each year for the past 14, features the best work culled from the artists in the area’s public high schools, Henry E. Lackey, La Plata, Maurice J. McDonough, North Point, Thomas Stone and Westlake. Advanced art students look forward to the show, which spotlights drawings, paintings and photographs matted and framed, sculpture and 3-D art displayed on pedestals.
The show started out as an outreach program, Stepura said. The art center wanted to give high school students the chance to exhibit their work in a professional gallery and to a broader audience.
“Exhibiting in a gallery requires artists to adhere to certain standards,” Stepura explained. “Artwork must remain in the exhibit for the entire length of the exhibit; artists must comply with framing guidelines; and galleries have the right to reject items that do not meet standards.”
For Six Picks, students who have work selected for the exhibit receive acknowledgement that their work is worthy of presentation in a gallery.
Local artist and art educator Sue Chappelear will be the judge, and prizes are given.
“Many students include these awards and certificates in their college portfolios,” Stepura said. “There is a sense of pride for all participating students, their teachers, and families and friends.”
Even if works don’t get an award, Alo said being selected to participate is an achievement.
“It’s an honor to be selected and to make it,” she said. “This show is bringing out the best of the best.”