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Granite students demonstrate creativity at live art show

Published: Monday, Jan. 28 2013 9:10 p.m. MST

TAYLORSVILLE — Matt and Candy Petty couldn't hide their delight as they tried to discretely pass by their son, Logan, watching as his clay-covered hands guided the spinning pot on his pottery wheel, his final piece of the night.

"He does not like an audience," Candy Petty said, stealing another glance toward her son, a Hunter High School senior. "He gets totally intimidated to have us standing and watching him."

Logan Petty was one of 57 students from the Granite School District to compete Monday in the 10th annual "Art Night Live!" show, which is more of a lab than a gallery.

Top artists from the district's eight high schools gathered for the event with clay, paint or canvas in tow, prepared to create their art in just four hours before being judged. Some hovered over their work with headphones to drown out distractions, others chatted with fellow students or kicked off their shoes to stretch for a moment, and many left their half-eaten lunches forgotten at their workspaces as the clock crept toward its deadline. 

The Petty family was eager to see their son's progress. Logan also competed in "Art Show Live!" last year but failed to complete all four pieces required for the show. Since Logan traded in his BMX bike for ceramics two years ago, Candy Petty said he has filled their home with more than 100 pieces and has dedicated his free time to helping other art students.

The Pettys hoped their support extended to all the talented students competing in the show.

"It's an amazing opportunity to see the talent of all these kids, in all different kinds of art," Candy Petty said. "It's amazing to me to walk around and see their work and see how it develops."

Also unlike a traditional art show, the four local artists responsible for judging the event didn't just tally their marks and hand in the results, but took time to mentor the students as they worked, offering encouragement and suggestions. 

Participants prepared for the show last month in a workshop with judges Al Rounds and Nathan Newman, and were given $50 toward supplies, said Holly Nelson of the Granite Education Foundation. 

"(The judges) are really mentoring instead of just giving criticism," Nelson said. "They're saying, 'Hey, I do this for a living. You could do it for a living. You could pursue this.'"

While some students talked about the university-level art programs they are applying for, others such as Scott Bolton, a senior at Granger High School, see art as an extension of other interests.

Bolton, who is working to certify as an emergency medical technician, uses mixed-media painting to alleviate the stress of rescue work.

"I have two passions right now," he said. "(With painting), I get to sit back and relax, but with (EMT work) I see organs popping out and it's more of an adrenaline rush."

Bolton used spray paint to create the a soft, mountain landscape stretching across three different-sized canvases. In the foreground, he added train cars in acrylic paint, emblazoned with graffiti designs and the title of the piece: "Graffiti Is Art."

In addition to painting, drawing, sculpture, wheel-thrown pottery and mixed media, Monday's show featured some lesser-known art forms, including one student who used a tablet to create her digital painting and two others who worked in stained glass.

Romnel Tan, a senior at Hunter High School, enjoys creating stained glass designs that demonstrate his faith. Tan aspires to be a Catholic priest, and his entry in Monday's show was a traditional cross done in red and brown glass. 

"The Catholic church has a long history of art," he said, gesturing at his window depicting the Virgin Mary in prayer that he brought as a display piece. "People could see the (Bible) stories through pictures, and you can express yourself through the art."

E-mail: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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