Saturday, May 23, 2015

RSU14 Art Show puts the talent of its students on display - By Michelle Libby

From the live music to the artists classroom demonstrations, there was a new energy to the art show this year. The art teachers attribute some of that to new hire Joe McLaughlin at Windham High School.
“A new art teacher – that makes a difference. He brings a new energy. He’s excited about the program and the students like what he’s doing and offering,” said art teacher Jeff Bell. 

The format for the art show was the same with the majority of the high school art in the front lobby and the kindergarten through eighth grade in the hallways and auditorium of Windham High School (WHS). Opening night on Monday featured the third grade chorus and the Windham Chamber Singers. 

“Every single possible period [the art teachers] can teach, they are,” said WHS principal Christopher Howell. “They have built a program to meet student needs in every type of class.” Next year the school will offer a wood sculpture class. 

“I like to see the progression K to 12,” said McLaughlin. “My projects are very student centered.” He encourages the students to use their pets, camps and more for inspiration and as a way to engage them.
This year there were more instillation pieces and audio visual art from the AP studio art class. Three columns painted and designed by senior Tegan Bradley took center stage in the foyer. The new way collections were presented gave the show a fresh feel, like the work displayed in a cabinet lined with candles by artist Abigayle Hodgman. 

“It’s a true celebration of young artists together with performing arts. It’s the community coming together to show support for the arts,” said Windham Middle School art teacher Heather Libby. “It showcases dedication and talent from grades kindergarten to 12th.” 

Two pieces of art by Holden Willard and Abigail Connor which were displayed at the Portland Museum of Art were back in Windham in time for the show. Lauren Barrett had a talented collection of drawings and pictures of horses. Other new displays were clay cactus pots and ceramic plates. 

Manchester art teacher Angelika Blanchard worked for 25 hours to get the show ready for opening night. “We’ve got to be the biggest art show in the state,” she said. 

WHS art teacher Kim Chasse noted the tattoo work photographs, anchored by artist statements about the work. “With the explosion of body art, we wanted to create an awareness around the idea of tattooing,” Chasse said. In those pieces there is photography compositional skills and photography as art as well as making the artist think about what they are doing, which is an important skill for those who are going into art programs in college, he added. 

“I love the art show,” said parent Megin Hatch. “It’s like the most wonderful time of the year for me.”

Artists Yelani Stieg – a senior (blonde) and Melanie Clark, a freshman, show off their skills at the annual RSU14 art show.
Chamber singers Will Wheaton and Sam Barry practice in front of quilling done by second graders.

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