Exhibit exposes Jackson students to various art styles

Monday, May 8, 2006
Savannah Watson, 7, left, of Jackson and her cousin, Abby Stinnett, 8, of Independence, Mo., examined a totem pole made by the adaptive class at Jackson High School and displayed at the all-district art exhibit Sunday. (Fred Lynch)

Jackson South Elementary School student Brock Austin's black and white drawing of the C.H. Wolther's building, in Jackson's Uptown Historic District, hung near the back wall of the high school's multi-purpose building on Sunday.

Austin said his historically accurate drawing, complete with a horse statue in the window of the old feed store, was drawn using a ruler and pencil.

"We were learning about rulers and measurement in art class," he said.

The 11-year-old is familiar with his spot on the wall because for the past five years, that's where his artwork has hung at the Jackson All-District Art Exhibit. In several years, Austin's art will hang from display boards in the center of the room, where the high school artwork is displayed -- at least that's what his mother, Martha Austin, hopes.

"I think he's got some talent. I hope he pursues art in junior high and high school," Martha Austin said Sunday afternoon.

More than 600 pieces of kindergarten through high school students' artwork was on display over the weekend at the Jackson Art Department's annual exhibit. The student's work included drawings, paintings, printmaking, sculptures and fibers.

Carol Horst, South Elementary School art teacher, said the art exhibit has been held for approximately 14 years.

"Art is meant to be seen and this is a way for all of our students to show off their work. By having this exhibit open for all students, the elementary students can see what happens if they stay in the art program," Horst said.

It also helps Jackson's art teachers to continually try to improve their curriculums. "It helps me want to be a better art teacher. We can see what areas we need to improve on and where we can make changes in the program," Horst said.

In addition to the displayed artwork, various hands-on art centers were located throughout the room. The public had the opportunity to make jewelry, sculpt clay finger puppets and have their portraits drawn by upper level art students.

Lauren Fisher, 7, and Sydney Bratina, 8, sat at a table making animal finger puppets out of clay. Jackson Middle School art teacher, Leigh Rampley, helped both girls with their creations.

"I'm making a ladybug for my teacher," Bratina said as she drew black spots onto the clay.

Fisher was in the process of making her fourth finger puppet, a cat.

Students who participated in the hands-on activities were required to pay $1 for the materials; all money raised will help buy supplies for next year's art exhibit.

As Bratina finished creating her ladybug on Sunday, she discussed her favorite subject in school.

"It used to be math, but now it's art," Bratina said.

jfreeze@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 246

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