Exhibition brings student work back to art center

Translating class time into the remote sphere has proven difficult for teachers and students of all kinds during the height of the pandemic. Some must have been particularly creative.

” It was hard. I mean, teaching ceramics online – it was tough,” said John Morton, an art teacher at Kenai Central High School.

He said that when school was fully online, he heard students say they missed creating together in the art room.

“So there were a lot of people when we came back and had consistency who said, ‘It’s so good to be back to do it,'” he said. is part of your diet, it’s really important. It’s something you miss.

For two years, the public has been missing it too. The Kenai Art Center has taken a break from its annual student art exhibition in 2020 and 2021.

This month, it is back in force. And at the art center on Thursday, art teachers from the Central Peninsula presented awards from a panel of judges to the first, second and third place winners in each category.

Soldotna High School Jordan Henley placed first in the mixed media category for “Painting #2” – a layered piece with a green textured background, trippy striped foreground and, in the center, a moth and a painted pyramid

“I’m very abstract when I paint, so I don’t have a vision,” Henley said. “I just go with it.”

As is the case with many performing artists, this is Henley’s first performance.

“Usually I paint, then I do a big picture and put it on my wall,” he said. “Nobody sees it.”

Pieces fill the front space of the art center, showing the personality of each school-age artist.

The back room is all middle schoolers. A sculpture of Skyview’s seventh grader Kate Cox sits on a pedestal in the middle of the room, alongside a purple ‘Best of Show’ ribbon.

“My mom is an art teacher, so I do a lot of art too,” she said. “So I wanted it to inspire my tree. That’s why it’s called ‘Life Created Through Art’.

The base is a block of wood painted to look like a pencil box, topped with a painter’s palette and a wire-wrapped brush that serves as a tree. Small empty tubes of paint are the leaves of the tree.

To the trunk of the tree hangs a small wooden mannequin.

“I kinda liked how you could bend it in different places to let it express itself, because I’m a performer too,” Cox said. “So it also brought something else into my life.”

Morton said art teachers at each of the schools monitor potential submissions throughout the year and encourage students to submit. Each school has a limited number of coins they can send into the show.

One of the winning pieces, from Soldotna High School Senior Alissa Powell, does double duty.

For one thing, he’s a second-place winner in the show’s high school drawing category.

But the piece was also one of the works in Powell’s portfolio for her art school application. This fall, she’s heading to Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. to study computer animation.

“My parents explained to me when I was 11 that there were people who made films that I loved so much,” she said. “And I was like, ‘You know what, I want to do that. I want to make cool movies with my favorite characters.’ So I’ve kind of been stuck with that, ever since I was 11.

Powell had to submit 15 portfolio items during the college application process. She said it was from the yarn.

“I had done about half my pieces by the time I started putting my portfolio together,” she said. “It was definitely a mad rush to get it all done. I finished about three days before the deadline.”

Her drawing, “The Elephant in the Room”, has a watercolor base and is filled in with colored pencil. The result, she says, is an impression of an opaque political cartoon.

“It’s not something I’ve tried before,” she said. “I saw it all over the art social media and stuff. I just thought it would be really interesting. They’re two of my favorite mediums, so I thought, why not the best of both worlds?”

Powell has several other winners in the exhibit, including a mixed media piece titled “DINOSAURS!” But she says “The Elephant in the Room” is her favorite.

The Kenai Art Show isn’t the only opportunity to see student art this month.

Soldotna Elementary School Kindergartens have a play exhibit at Kaladi Brothers in Soldotna for the month of April.

Kindergarten teacher AnnMarie Rudstrom said she worked with her 26 students on different art styles all year, like watercolors and tile mosaics.

“We created an arctic unit and they used real fur scraps from various types of animals to create little parkas and mukluks to represent how they might dress in the arctic,” she said. declared.

She said the students learned to name works of art and use primary colors. On Friday, the class took a trip to Kaladis to see some of their artwork on the walls.


Courtesy of AnnMarie Rudstrom


Kindergarten students from AnnMarie Rudstom’s class display artwork at the Kaladi Brothers in South Kobuk this month.

“They were so proud and so excited,” Rudstrom said. “At first it was hard for them to understand that I wasn’t giving them their artwork when we’ve been finishing it all year. But I kept reminding them – ‘Trust me. It’ll be worth it We’re going to have an art exhibit.

Morton, Kenai’s art teacher, said recognizing and rewarding children can be really empowering for young artists. It’s a big factor in the show’s return this year.

“When you create a visual product, part of your purpose is intrinsic and part of it is how it’s going to be seen and received by an audience,” Morton said. “So it’s really important that they have this place to do it.”

The Student Art Exhibition will be held at the Kenai Art Center throughout April.

The kindergarten exhibition, in Soldotna, will also be held at the Kaladi Brothers in South Kobuk throughout the month.