Berryville Art Show: Students put their talents on display
By Kelby Newcomb
Berryville students got a chance to shine last Wednesday and Thursday at the sixth annual Berryville High School Art Show in the Old Rock Gym.
Art teachers Boone Hooker and Emily Bell said the show featured pieces from beginning artists to the concentration pieces from seniors in Advanced Placement (AP) art classes.
“The art show is a chance to have those kids who aren’t athletic or musical to shine,” Bell said. “They find art as their kind of creative outlet, so it’s really nice because somebody you wouldn’t think would be artistic makes something great.”
She said she heard several teachers say they were surprised and impressed by the artwork that students created.
“I’ve noticed the kids are so proud,” Bell said. “They have this sense of pride like ‘I created this,’ and they want to show their friends and their teachers. It’s a chance to build their egos and boost their confidence.”
She said the art show includes assignments the students have worked on in class throughout the year.
“Our painting kids did the alternative canvass project, which was taking something unconventional and painting it,” Bell said. “They really loved it. They’ve also done some passage paintings where they took song lyrics or a passage from a book or a poem and then they create something based on how it makes them feel.”
Senior Brandt Conklen and Junior Mae Tibbets said the alternative canvass project was their favorite assignment in the painting class this year.
“We’ve been working a lot with watercolors and acrylics and that kind of cool stuff,” said Tibbets. “[Bell] is really good about giving us projects that give us a lot of room to be creative.”
She continued, “This year I liked the alternative canvass painting that we got to do. We got to do any painting we wanted on any object. This one girl did jeans. I did a pair of boots.”
“I got a denim jacket, and I painted a camper on the back of it,” said Conklen.
Seniors Maryn Jones, Claudia Alvarez and Emma Culling said they took AP 2-D Art this year.
“For the first semester, we focused on our breadth and finding out what we like to do,” Jones said. “The second semester we do a concentration that is focused on one topic and do eight of those pieces.”
For her concentration, she said she took outdated objects, like VHS tapes and rotary phones, and painted portraits or human features like eyes on them.
Culling said she based her concentration off her experience having synesthesia, a condition that makes her see shapes and colors when she listens to music.
“I had people pick songs for me for my pieces, and I painted what I saw,” she said.
“My concentration is basically the problems that we have in our society,” Alvarez said, “and how we mask them among other things that we pay more attention. In one of my paintings, I did a polar bear taking a step onto a clock, signifying the melting ice caps and endangered species.”
The students said art has had a huge impact on their lives.
“I’ve always been passionate about art,” Jones said. “It’s always been one of my favorite things to do. I really like how at school it’s a big stress reliever for everything else going on and with scholarships for college coming up. It’s a way to get your mind off things and relax basically.”
“Art really wasn’t that big a deal for me early on,” Alvarez said, “but now I feel like I get to express things I think about, and other people can see it and understand or they can take their own concept on it.”
Culling said she has been interested in art from a young age.
“I think I originally wasn’t planning on taking AP,” she said. “For me, getting to take an advanced course means you’re really motivated by everyone around you and the work they put into their artwork. For me, it’s been really nice to have time during the day to be creative and also just to get to be around people who are just as passionate about what they’re doing.”
“I think art is a great way to express yourself,” Conklen said, “and find a way to relive stress without it being too time-consuming.”
“I like to paint and draw,” Tibbets said, “so it’s just fun to be able to do that.”
The students said they plan to continue making art after high school. Jones said she may even major in art in college.
Bell said the art show gives students the opportunity to show off their hard work each year.
“It’s chance for everybody to stand out,” she said, “and say ‘I worked so hard all year. Here it is.’ They get to see that art has an impact.”