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The City Journals

Talent on display at District Junior High art show

Jun 02, 2017 11:36AM ● By Aspen Perry

District wide artwork on display at Granite Education Center for district art show. (Aspen Perry/City Journals.)

By Aspen Perry  |  [email protected]
Students and parents filled the Granite Education Center on April 19 for the junior high district art show. This show is an event students look forward to all year.
“Students start asking me almost immediately when the art shows will take place,” said Chris Wightman, art teacher for Wasatch Junior High.
The process of narrowing down which art will be presented is not an easy task. Depending on the school, before competing in the district wide art show students submit their artwork, which is presented and judged in an art show at their school.
Even for the schools that hold their in-school art shows after the district show, art teachers have the difficult task of selecting which art pieces are allowed to move to the district level, as Sutton Morgan, Evergreen Junior High art teacher explained. “Each participating school is limited to 50 pieces of art, so each school has to select what they are going to bring within that limit.”
Morgan further added, “I try and select a range of different types of work from different classes and grade levels to show.”
It would seem the teachers look forward to the event as much, if not more, than their students.
“I love the excitement that exists at the artist reception, as students, families, and friends celebrate art,” said Kaitlin Baer, who teaches art at Olympus Junior High.
Baer continued, “My favorite part of any art show, but especially a junior high art show, is watching artists when they walk in and see their work on the wall… It is so rewarding to see them recognize just what great work they have created.”
Though the art show takes place in the spring there are some students who begin working on their pieces as early as June the year before. For some schools, the show represents an entire year’s worth of work, though depending on the school curriculum schedule for other schools the art may be representative of a semester.
“My students have been working on their art since mid-January,” said Melina Tomeo, art teacher with Bennion Junior High.
Art for the district show is based on the following categories for 3D: best of show, wheel thrown ceramics, hand-built ceramics, tile/glass/jewelry, sculpture, commercial art, graphics, and mixed-media.
In the 2D category, the following art mediums were ranked: best of show, black-and- white drawing, color drawing, transparent painting, opaque painting, and photography.
Wasatch Junior High collected the most awards, which totaled 15 and included: 2D best of show, first place in 3D sculpture, opaque painting, and photography, and one honorable mention.
Although Wasatch collected the most district awards, first place was awarded to students in several Granite District schools including: Bennion, Churchill, Evergreen, Granite Park, Kennedy, Matheson, Olympus, and Wasatch.
During the district art show, all students who placed came up to receive certificates, prizes, and applause from parents, teachers, and classmates. Students who placed in the top five spots received arts supplies based on the category they won, such as clay with tools, canvas and paints, or pencils, to name a few.  Even students awarded honorable mention received a prize that was later distributed by their teachers in their school.
Though placing in the art show has the obvious perks, for students and teachers art means much more than winning awards.
“For some (art) is the best place to develop critical thinking, creativity, and confidence. So, for them, it actually means more,” said Wightman.
Wightman, who has been teaching for 17 years, said he experiences joy knowing both his and his students’ work in the art class can go beyond the classroom and make a real difference in their lives.
“Even better, is when I hear from kids or parents years later, to thank me for helping them start the journey that led them to a career in art, or helping them believe in themselves,” Wightman said.