Getting creative

utside Shops at Seymour on Saturday, Trinity Lutheran High School sophomore Abigail Moses sat with friends and painted as part of the 31st annual Celebration of the Arts.

The event, which also was conducted Sunday, showcased works from 10 different schools from the Seymour area, featuring art by nearly 1,000 elementary and middle school students and a handful of high school students from Seymour and Trinity Lutheran.

“I think it’s an opportunity for schools to show their students’ works and for students to see what other students and schools are working on,” Moses said as she worked on a watercolor painting of a person.

Seymour High School art teacher Don Brown described the event as “a chance for students, parents and friends to gather as a community and celebrate the arts.”

The challenge to all of the teachers involved was to select pieces that showed students’ efforts, hopefully without making anyone feel left out, Brown said.

“You have to look at all of them and decide which ones you think look finished, and then bring some and leave others that you probably really want to bring,” said Mariella Wehmiller, art teacher at Seymour-Jackson Elementary School.

An important part of the art show for her students is getting to see what they can do in the future in addition to getting families involved and interested in the art their students are doing.

“Everything is based on state standards, but there are so many things that are inside the state standards,” Wehmiller said.

The selection process is different from school to school, with elementary schools having a larger pool of students with art to draw from than high schools, but no less difficult, Wehmiller said.

Trinity art teacher Carrie Adler said she had about 40 students from which to choose.

Trinity selects art different, allotting a large number of the board space to seniors.

“The seniors in advance classes wait four years to do this show, and they get to show a larger body of their work,” Adler said, pointing out several of the boards with student bios and portfolios.

As a sophomore, Moses hasn’t yet gotten the chance to display her work in such a manner. But for her, there is more to the art show than just that.

“I think it’s both a bit of getting your own ideas out there and getting to see other people’s ideas that help the creative process,” Moses said.

Moses submitted several three-dimensional pieces of art at the show. While it wasn’t her favorite, one of the pieces she liked the best was a ceramic octopus that she had created.

“It was supposed to be 7-inches-by-7-inches, but it ended up closer to 20-inches-by-20-inches,” she said.

Seymour High School sophomore Lauren Price also was at the event with her boyfriend and their families.

Price had several items in the art show, including an art piece of “Alice in Wonderland’s” Cheshire Cat and a stippling, or drawing created by using dots, of Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd, which she admitted was probably the favorite of her works.

“It’s great to get the chance to see high-schoolers come in and get their parents involved, seeing these stoic guys come in and get told to stand next to their pieces while their family take pictures,” Brown said.

Adler said she enjoyed watching students learn through art.

“It’s neat to see the thought process functioning visually,” she said. “They start off and they don’t have lots of experience, but it grows and grows, and you can see the gears turning as they work.”

The process of watching them grow is what Adler said she enjoys the most about teaching art, along with seeing how art can affect students indifferent ways, some on quite personal levels.

“You look at (their art) and you can see their personal struggles across the years as they develop,” she said.

Brown said students in more advanced classes function much like they might in a real workplace, coming up with contracts that they then get approved by the faculty stating what they will complete each quarter.

This year also was the first year music was incorporated into the art show.

“We invited some of the older students to come in and play after we previewed them, and some of the school’s musical classes are helping, too,” Brown said.

Author photo
Aaron Piper is a photographer and reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at apiper@tribtown.com or 812-523-7057.