Visitors to the Creston:Arts Gallery in the Creston Depot will see a variety of art mediums during the April gallery show as art students from Creston Community High School show off efforts of a long semester of independent study.
The students in the show are seniors who have, ideally, taken every other art class CCHS offers, and the independent art class is an opportunity for them to explore a medium they want to learn more about. The students also design and plan their own curriculum for the class, and have to submit proposals for each project they want to pursue.
Art teacher Bailey Fry-Schnormeier said she’s there to help when she’s needed, but for the most part the students are on their own to explore whatever interests them.
“I’ve been doing an independent study on painting, mostly acrylics,” said CCHS senior Mason Peckham. “so I did some paintings from life. There was also a project me and another student did for the company Vans. They have a challenge and Creston was one of 500 schools selected for the challenge and we were able to do custom shoe designs. But, my main focus is painting.”
Nicole Akers, a CCHS senior with plans to become a teacher of English as a second language, said she was focusing on body positivity and being happy and positive through her art. Her two main pieces are portraits of Korean pop music artists who have struggled with depression. One, an artist named Jonghyun, committed suicide in December and she said that was what inspired her to focus on the theme of “Loving yourself.”
This is the first year CCHS offered independent art as a class section. Fry-Schnormeier said when she started teaching 10 years ago, she was limited to just two students. Over the years, she continued to push and was slowly able to add more students until the school finally decided to add it as a full class.
Fry-Schnormeier said all of the students are extremely talented and creative and she doesn’t want to set limits on that.
Although some of the students may not be planning on majoring in art in college, art is something they are passionate about and plan to continue in some way.
“Art is a passion of mine,” Akers said, “so I probably will be taking art classes in college just to continue doing something with art.”
The students are excited to be showing off their art at the gallery.
“I think it’s cool because otherwise people aren’t going to see it,” Peckham said. “When you make something like this out of it, it’s something that gets focused on. You get more attention. People might actually notice.”
“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to have their art work showcased,” Fry-Schnormeier said. “It’s amazing. You take it out of the cluttered art room that’s full of so many other projects into a nice, clean space with a little matte around it. They view their work in a whole other way. It gives them a lot of pride to be able to bring their friends and family to show their work. It’s not just the hallway. It’s outside of the little glass case.”
Creston:Arts will hold an artist reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the gallery. Refreshments will be served and visitors will have an opportunity to meet the artists.
The show goes through the month of April, and on April 25, the independent art students will also showcase their work at the Hawkeye 10 Art Show at Kuemper Catholic High School in Carroll.