Summer of art: High school students attend SEMO art academy

Saturday, June 13, 2009
Art Academy printmaking instructor Kristin Nowlin, right, helps Marissa Renfroe, 16, of Sikeston, adjust pressure on an intaglio press Wednesday afternoon, June 10, 2009, at the River Campus in Cape Girardeau. There will be a reception for Art Academy work on Sunday, June 14, from 2-4 p.m. at the River Campus Art Gallery. (Kit Doyle)

Caroline DeKriek traced her finger over a collage of black-and-white prints as she explained the symbols of her life.

She said images of sand dollars and the beach represented early childhood trips to Florida. A roll symbolized her job at Lambert's Cafe. There were car keys and an engagement ring, life milestones of her past and present, she said.

"The strawberries are ..." she said, stopping to think. "I just like strawberries a lot."

DeKriek, who will be a junior at Sikeston High School, combined the prints with pieces of a Cape Girardeau map.

Kristin Nowlin, an art instructor at Southeast Missouri State University, challenged her art academy students to create a life road map using collagraph prints. Students layered paper, fabric, string and leaves onto printing plates to create images.

Art academy printmaking student Caroline DeKriek, 16, of Sikeston, pulls her prints from a drying rack Wednesday at the River Campus.

DeKriek was one of seven students attending the university's first summer art academy this week. Students worked in five different media -- ceramics, painting, printmaking, sculpture and drawing -- spending eight hours creating a project for each.

"We hope that it gives them exposure to something they can't do in their high school," Nowlin said.

Carol Horst, the program's coordinator, said the experience will help students build their portfolio for scholarships and art school.

"I think the students enjoyed seeing what the college-level art classes do," she said.

Classes were limited to 15 students and the academy reached half-capacity its first year. Horst said she hopes it will grow through word-of-mouth. Future academies, she said could involve collaboration with the music and theater and dance departments.

The academy offered two partial scholarships to offset the $200 to attend the program. She said she hopes to expand the scholarship portion as well.

"I think money was an issue we can hopefully eliminate, if we're frugal with our money," she said.

Pat Reagan, chairwoman of the art department, said the smaller classes were ideal for high school students.

"I think that one-on-one with professors will help them develop as artists," Reagan said.

Elizabeth Twaddell got up at 6:40 a.m. every day to drive from Dexter, Mo., for the weeklong session, which concluded Friday. Twaddell, who will be a senior at Dexter High School, said she attended the academy to learn about different media before heading to college.

"I thought it would be a good idea to do this before college and expand a little bit," she said.

She said the painting session was her favorite. Students created a personal emblem, a removable painting that could be displayed on windows.

"So it's like graffiti, but it's not graffiti," she said. "It's the legal way of doing that."

Twaddell said the individualized attention was a contrast to her large high school classes, encouraging her to push her artistic boundaries.

"We get to be a little bit more adventurous here," she said.

There will be a reception for the students Sunday. Their artwork will be on display in the River Campus Art Gallery from 2 to 4 p.m.

The academy will hold workshops for artists of all ages next week. The university is working in conjunction with the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri to offer half-day art classes. Artwork created during the session will be on display at the arts council throughout August with an opening reception Aug. 7.

abusch@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

518 S. Fountain St., Cape Girardeau, M ...

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