“Heading West”, a pastel piece by Lanesboro senior Clay Olson, will be displayed at the Lanesboro Arts Center as part of the high school art show, Jan. 11 through Feb. 8
“Heading West”, a pastel piece by Lanesboro senior Clay Olson, will be displayed at the Lanesboro Arts Center as part of the high school art show, Jan. 11 through Feb. 8
Students from four Fillmore County high schools will have the unique opportunity to showcase their artistic ability from Saturday, Jan. 11, through Saturday, Feb. 8, in the annual Juried High School Art Show held at the Lanesboro Arts Center.

Approximately 80 pieces of original art from around 60 young artists will be located at the art center's Exhibition Gallery, a space that usually showcases established artists' work.

"It is a professional exhibition for them," said gallery director Robbie Brokken. "The whole point of the showcase is to show support to students and give them self-esteem that comes from presenting artwork in public."

For many of the students, the show will be the first time any of them have had their work placed in a public building other than their school. Lanesboro, Fillmore Central, Rushford-Peterson and Chatfield students do not have many local opportunities to show their work in a professional manner. The relationship with the Lanesboro Arts Center (LAC) started almost a decade ago and the show has grown in popularity among both students and community.

Art teachers from the schools have the responsibility of deciding which of their students have work deserving of the show. Sam Cunningham, Rushford-Peterson's art teacher, explained she asked her students to submit work if they wanted to. She then made the final decision as to which pieces would go to the show.

Lanesboro art instructor Krista Flaig said some kids volunteered their work, while she also suggested to some to enter their work.

All four of the art teachers said the pieces they were sending had been created as part of the assigned projects during the first semester of the 2013-2014 school year.

Visitors to the art show will see pieces created with pencils, pastels, pottery and more. Some Chatfield students are even sending in prints of art they created using an iPad and computer software.

Students, teachers, family members and the general public will be on hand the evening of Saturday, Jan. 11, when a public artists' reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Though not mandatory, the student-artists are encouraged to attend.

Brokken promises it will be "a very warm and happy event," citing the family and teacher support as being outstanding. Students will have the opportunity to talk with other students, teachers and community members who may have questions about their work.

Chatfield art teacher Kelly Puent said some of her students in the past even had offers from people interested in buying their work.

The students will also be able to have their artwork receive constructive advice from local professional metal artist Anna Loney, who will send comments back to each student at their respective school. Brokken said the idea to bring in a local artist who could provide comments and suggestions for the students was one to motivate the students in their future endeavors.

The reception will also provide opportunities for the teachers. Cunningham said she will be looking at what is going on in the other schools.

Fillmore Central art instructor Carrie Mathison echoed that statement, saying she was looking forward to talking art with other teachers and students.

Puent said, "Sometimes the ideas that are on display from other school will give me ideas."

During the evening, all four instructors will have time to talk and learn from each other.

Flaig said the evening will help their students build confidence. "They learn that what they are thinking about means something to other people," she stated. "They are nervous, but really willing to express what they were trying to visualize."

Mathison said she hopes her students have their interest in art strengthened. She expressed her desire that students continue making art on the side or at home, even if they don't go into it professionally. "It pushes students to work on problem solving skills, look for feedback on their work and make it better," said Puent.

Following Saturday's opening, the students' work will be on display during normal Lanesboro Arts Center hours, which are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.