High school art has taken over The Corner Gallery and nabbed space for the first time in the 27th annual Made in Clarkdale exhibit.
This year's exhibit features the work of more than 50 local artists, beginning with a gala opening on Dec. 6. With so many artists and a limited amount of space, most of the student work will occupy The Corner Gallery.
Advanced and AP studio art teacher Tyler Novak while the students are constantly hanging work and submitting to competitions, this is the first time they've been offered a gallery space.
"The students taking ownership with hanging work and coming in and putting a show on is just absolutely thrilling," Novak said. "The access to this space is really special."
Made in Clarkdale chairperson Greg Jiede said after his group gained 501 (c) 3 nonprofit status last year, they included an educational component in their mission statement.
The show will eventually have enough space to display all the artists together but, with local artists participating in Made in Clarkdale's exhibit and the Corner Gallery empty, Jeide said it made sense to allow the Mingus students to display their work in a separate venue still connected to the main event.
"So this comes as a nice shot to get in part of our mission statement to support art education and to get them exposure," he said.
The Corner Gallery will continue displaying student work after the show ends Dec. 15 so that on Dec. 17, the students get to meet the artists who participated in Made in Clarkdale, the first step in creating a mentoring program.
"One of the things we're trying to do is put artists in touch with educational opportunities and vice versa," Jeide said. "A couple of the artists have been through (the gallery) and they said to me, these kids are really good."
Students will also host a holiday event at the gallery Dec. 20, complete with hot cider and caroling by Mingus choir students.
Clarkdale residents Isabel and John Erickson work with Art in Public Places, bringing high school work to local venues and inviting students to participate in an annual art show.
Isabel said the Made in Clarkdale group approached her to get students into the exhibit this year.
"We hope to encourage the public to go back and forth between the two locations throughout the show," she said.
Pieces by senior AP Studio Art student and Clarkdale resident Haley Backus are going to be in the Made in Clarkdale exhibit. Some of her work is currently hanging in the Corner Gallery's front window.
"I kind of felt, in the nature of the Made in Clarkdale show, that she should have pieces displayed at the actual exhibit," Novak said.
Novak said having access to the gallery provides an invaluable and irreplaceable learning experience.
"This year, our goal was just to bring in good work and put on a good show and work with made in Clarkdale and make sure this was something that would be special and well-received," he said.
Many of the students are going on to AP Studio Art next year and need to build portfolios, so they aren't selling their work like the professional artists who are participating.
"It's all based on the intrinsic desire to produce and express and create," Novak said. "They don't make this to sell it, they make this to express something."
People will still be able to commission paintings from artists whose work is on display, Novak said.
Novak put out the call to his students, asking that they volunteer their time, and they were flowing in and out of the gallery Tuesday night to set up the show.
"The kids are invested in what they're doing and they take a lot of pride, wanting to come and be part of this and work," he said.
Students in AP Studio Art pick a concentration, or main focus, and create breadth pieces that show proficiency in various madiums like still life and figure drawing.
Senior AP Studio Art student Paige Bloniarz said her concentration is in using ceramics and 3-D art to create pieces that appear to defy gravity.
"It is pretty cool seeing your own pieces in a gallery other than just seeing it in a classroom," she said. "Seeing the groups, seeing how well all the pieces work together, and how they were all drawn at completely different times by completely different people but they can all still be tied together, is really neat."
Students got to choose which of their paintings they wanted to display.
"We've been working on all our pieces for shows and stuff, so we all picked our favorite pieces and the pieces we thought would be showcased the best, and we brought those in," she said.
Senior AP Studio Art student Tina VanDerHorst mostly paints, and said the process of setting up the gallery has been interesting.
"It's nice seeing them all up and combined together that have really different backgrounds and different people," VanDerHorst said.
Junior advanced art student Ryan Young is displaying a three-canvas painting, one of which was hung upside down at a previous show.
"It's kind of nice having them put up the way we want them put up," Young said. "We got to put our pieces together and see how they flow together."
Junior advanced art student Riley McClellan has a charcoal piece hanging in the exhibit.
"It's been really cool seeing everyone else's pieces," McClellan said. "I really like their ideas."