One of the favorite chores for art teachers in the West Salem School District is choosing student artwork for the annual K-12 Honors Show. That show—a showcase for young imaginations—will be on display for the general public all this month at the Heider Center Art Gallery.

It features 100 of the best works created by students during the 2017-18 school year. Fifty of the works are from the elementary school and 25 each from the middle school and high school. The show was hung earlier this week and high school art teacher Quenten Brown made it clear that the job was more pleasure than work.

“It didn’t take as long as we thought,” Brown said, “so we all just walked around for a while and looked at the artwork other teachers brought in. I was just blown away by the energy and the creativity!”

Elementary school art teacher Angie Hemker noted that March is one of her favorite times of the year because it’s Youth Art Month. One of the things she likes about the Honors Show is that it gives her a chance to see former students again.

“It’s fun to see the progress they’ve made,” she said.

Hemker’s first take on this show was that it has plenty of color and experimentation. “There are lots of fresh new ideas,” she said. “That’s partly because of our two new staff members (Stephanie Sharp in the elementary school and Kaylin Lotspaih in the middle school) and partly because Quenten and I have been trying new things.”

Brown had praise for both the elementary school art teachers and for Lotspaih. “Angie and Stephanie do a great job letting kids be themselves and be fearless,” Brown said. He added that he’s been impressed with the level of craftsmanship for the kids working with Lottspaih in the middle school.

“Kaylin had her students doing house drawings using two-point perspective,” Brown said. “They are really crisp and clean and well done.”

He added that his own high school students seem to be doing more experimentation than ever. They use media in different ways like ink on canvas or acrylic on glass or pouring paints on canvas.

“Most of my students are making art of the sheer fun of creating,” Brown said. “They’re more open to whatever happens and not really afraid of what the outcome might be.”

The reception for the Show is usually one of the best attended of the year. This year it will be held on March 22. “Everyone is welcome and there will be food and refreshments provided,” Brown said


Coulee Courier and Houston County News editor

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