Posted Date: 05/03/2021
Last spring, as the Coronavirus began spreading across the United States, Chanute schools were closed and school wide public events cancelled. One of the casualties was the annual USD 413 Art Fair. While the school district continues to operate under COVID protocols a year later, teachers and principals have sought new ways to continue some of these traditions.
This year the USD 413 Art Fair will be hosted inside the Chanute Art Gallery in its downtown location, 17 N. Lincoln. Pieces from the elementary, middle and high school will be set up for exhibit and open to the public from May 4 through May 22.
Audra Shelite, art teacher at Augusta High School, will judge the middle and high school artwork. She will award a Best of Show as well as Artistic Merit and Honorable mention awards in 2D Drawing, 2D Painting, and 3D. A public reception will be held at the gallery from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on May 15.
The public can expect to see a variety of work and mediums by students in grades 1-12.
At the elementary level, art teachers Brett Rinehart and Halsey Wright chose four pieces from each elementary class, grades 1-5, to display in the show.
“The quality of work by our students is really quite amazing,” Rinehart said. “One project that stood out to me this year were the 'Picasso' style watercolor portraits done by my third grade students. We started off by looking at some images of portraits painted by Pablo Picasso and the kids learned more about his style of art. Then they created their own portraits in a similar style and painted them with watercolors.
“The kids had a lot of fun with this project because they got to be really creative with their art, and at the same time, they got to learn about Picasso and his artwork. Several students had their 'Picasso Portraits' make it to this stage of the art fair. One of my students even made me the subject of her 'Picasso Portrait,' so that was pretty entertaining,” he said.
Among the pieces from Wright’s classes are pastel animals and pumpkins, Pointillism and some “pretty cool” watercolor paintings.
In an 'Importance of Words' project, her students picked out certain words from old encyclopedia papers and marker drawings to define or describe pictures. Each page had all sorts of different words, she explained. The hardest part for the kids was picking which ones to use to complete the project and move on to the next step.
“One thing the kids found out while they were drawing was that a student next to them may define or draw the same word a different way, and this would spark even more creative and new ideas for them both,” Wright said.
Though the elementary artwork isn’t judged, Rinehart said it’s a good practice for the students to see their work and the upper level projects on exhibit.
“I love seeing the students' artwork hanging up,” Wright said. “You can see all the hard work, creative thought and interests the kids have had over this school year.”
“They do a great job and should be very proud of their work,” Rinehart said. “It’s also nice for them to get to see the middle and high school artwork and get a little preview of what they might get to do in the future.”
Featured in the show from Royster teacher Linda Angleton’s students will be a wide variety of pieces in ceramics, fabric mask, textile design, scratch board, pencil drawings, graphic design and contour drawings coupled with mixed media.
“The students were quite creative with the contour mixed media pieces,” Angleton said. “They also did exceptionally well with their black and white graphic designs. A lot of thought went into their patterns.”
CHS art teacher Charles Bishop said he tries to select a variety of works from students who have excelled at projects throughout the year.
“Most of the projects came from specific assignments except for those from Advanced Art students. They aren't given traditional assignments and are allowed to build the ideas for their pieces on their own,” he said.
Included will be about 50 pieces from varying media including watercolor, acrylic paint, pencil, soft pastel, and ceramics.
The public will be able to view the students’ artwork during regular gallery hours, noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.