I love finding the person inside. There is great depth in people that we often do not notice.
High school is a time of finding oneself, of experimentation and discovery and sometimes pushing the limits. So, you'd expect a show of high school art to be filled with a lot of that.
And the 35th Annual Utah All-State High School Art Show Exhibition at the Springville Museum of Art is. It is also filled with a lot of very good art.
"I can't believe the quality of the art this year," says Virgil Jacobsen, curator of education at the museum. "It gets stronger year after year, but the strength of this show is amazing. A lot of that credit goes to our art teachers. They are the unsung heroes in the background."
But, he adds, a lot of the credit goes to the students themselves. "It seems like they are taking it more seriously. They are paying attention, learning their lessons." They are adept at executing the art and craft, he says, but they are also very tuned in to what makes art interesting. "They are learning original composition and balance and what goes into interesting art. That's one of the biggest challenges high school students have."
Photography is a way for men to connect to the outside world and capture the vastness and amazing beauty of nature.
Zac Ovard, Alta
This year 860 works from 73 high schools throughout the state were entered into the show. Jurors selected 343 entries, which are displayed in eight galleries throughout the museum. "We think this is the biggest high school show in the country," says Jacobsen. "We don't know of anything else that equals it."
The jurors give out a total of 34 awards. Some 25 pieces are also chosen for a traveling exhibit that will visit towns and communities throughout the state. And each congressional district hands out seven awards. The top piece in each district will go to Washington, D.C., to be part of a special show there.
So, says Jacobsen, the Springville show really offers the students an opportunity for resume-building exposure and experience. The show was started in 1971 to provide a forum for young artists, to recognize their talent and creativity and "to prepare them for a competitive society."
We tend to notice what makes people different or stand out in crowds. Common judgment is often negative. I wanted to portray a positive difference hopes and dreams in the middle of ordinary people.
Christine Longhurst, Pineview
Art is submitted by the schools, rather than the individual students, although any student can have up to two pieces in the show. Each school may submit a number of entries based on a percentage of their junior and senior enrollment, with a minimum of four from each school. The artwork includes a variety of mediums and subject matter. Students are also invited to submit a written explanation of their work.
The show included fun and fanciful things, as well as those filled with teen angst. There are dragons and cars and food and music and flowers and animals. There are self-portraits. There are oils and watercolors and photographs and ceramics.
The jurors also come from a variety of disciplines. This year they include oil painter Joseph F. Brickey, art historian Laura Durham, sculptor Ben Hammond, mixed-media specialist Willamarie Huelskamp, photographer Dennis Mecham, painter and educator Robert Nickelson, graphic illustrator Glen Richards, and pottery- and jewelry-maker Dennis Zupan.
"Our jurors were particularly enthralled with the three-dimensional pieces these year," says Jacobsen. "We have some excellent work." That includes a mixed assemblage by Aimee Anderson called "An Assembled Soul" that has a live fish swimming in a fish-bowl head. "She comes in and feeds and takes care of the fish every day."
"The kind of shoe you wear says a lot about you, your personality and your style. I am a pretty plain and simple person who is laid back most of the time and a bit tattered and rough around the edges."
Kyle Pectol, Riverton
The high school show is one of Jacobsen's favorites because of the variety, but also because of the potential it represents.
It's fun to see what the students are doing at the beginning of what might be an artist's career, he says. Not all the students will become commercial successes, of course, and may not even want to. But they will have a lifelong interest in and appreciation of art that will enrich their lives, he says.
This is Jacobsen's third show as the museum's curator of education, and each year it gets harder to make his own choice for the Director's Award. There's something to love about every piece, he says, whether it is the amazing detail that Amy Henderson puts into her pencil drawing, or the way Jordan Reading placed a bead in the beak of his ceramic toucan bird, or how Tess Graham created a self-portrait that doesn't fit the "standard nose-eye-mouth" mold.
He loves the "V-ate, V-drank, V-got-sick" and other humor found inside Jill Osborne's "Eat Real Food" painting. The texture of Tyler Cox's pottery "rivals anything I've seen done professionally."
However, for the award he chose Emily Cox's "Driven," an oil painting of the front end of a car. He liked both the "skill in the use of the medium and the strength of the statement. You can enjoy the piece close-up or far away."
But then, the same could be said for the whole show.
"You look at the show and see that the future of professional art in Utah is just phenomenal. You look at the potential in this show, and it's just wonderful."
Something that has always been crucial to my art work is feeling. Not just the emotion and feeling portrayed, but to evoke those same emotions in those viewing it.
What: Utah All-State High School Art Show
Where: Springville Museum of Art, 126 E. 400 South, Springville
When: Through April 4
Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
Closed Mondays and holidays
How much: Free
E-mail: [email protected]