AP student art show opens today | SteamboatToday.com

AP student art show opens today

Artists worked through school year to create varied display

Margaret Hair

Steamboat Springs art student Sophie Myller was busy hanging her art earlier this week at the downtown Steamboat Springs Center for Visual Arts. The gallery has invited art students from the high school to take part in a show, which opens today.

Kyle Swoyer wasn't always so impulsive with her creativity.

A senior in Steamboat Springs High School's Advanced Placement studio art class, Swoyer started the school year carefully planning each piece she created. As the year moved along and each AP art student pursued his or her own style, Swoyer changed hers; she took an idea and went with it.

The result is one of 19 student portfolios featured in a show opening today at the Steamboat Springs Center for Visual Arts. The showcase includes collections of work in various media, most of them following a theme or stylistic progression for each student.

A reception for students, parents, friends and faculty is from 5 to 8 p.m. today at the Center for Visual Arts. There will be another free reception for the public during First Friday Artwalk from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday. The work will be on display until April 14.

To create the collections, art teacher Lisa Derning encouraged students to start with something comfortable at the beginning of the year and then develop and grow within that style, said exhibiting artist Tara Spitellie, a junior.

Starting with oil pastels and matching colors, Spitellie added movement to her work, hoping to evoke reflection, she said. Senior Ally Wetzler started working with watercolors and ink to create her flowing depictions of dancers, and she tried using acrylics at a mentor's suggestion, she said.

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To help push the progression Swoyer, Spitellie, Wetzler and their classmates made with their work during the year, Center for Visual Arts owner Linda Laughlin worked with Derning to bring professional artists into the AP studio art classroom as mentors.

"They pushed my creativity to the next level," Swoyer said.

Laughlin said she and Derning learned a lot during their "pilot period" about how students respond to having artists in the classroom and how to develop a workable rapport. They plan to continue the program next school year, Laughlin said.

Local artist Greg Block sat in on the students' studio time and peer critiques about once a week, he said. Occasionally bringing his own work to the studio, Block said he was able to draw inspiration from students while giving it.

"We're artist mentors, which doesn't mean teaching, necessarily. … At least in this case, it's more of a role model kind of figure, in the sense that we're at least somewhat older and have been more exposed to the art world, so we're there to inspire and to instruct, and the students serve the same purpose, though in another way," Block said.

Because all the students have different artistic styles, Block said, he found himself answering questions he wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise.

"I think it goes without saying that it has been a real mutualistic experience, because we've created a bit of a marketplace for sharing ideas and throwing inspiration back and forth," Block said.

Hannah Moore, a high school junior who was working with Block to hang her show at the Center for Visual Arts on Wednesday afternoon, said she was excited to exhibit her work in a professional gallery.

"It's good exposure. It's definitely different, and I've never done it before, but I think it's really neat that we get to do this," Moore said.

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs High School AP studio art show

When: Opening reception for students, parents and faculty is from 5 to 8 p.m. today; First Friday Artwalk reception is from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Center for Visual Arts, 906 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: Free

Call: 846-5970

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