Parkersburg Art Center shines light on young talent
Exhibit a collection of art by students from across W.Va.
The annual West Virginia Art Educators Association held its annual exhibit and awards presentation Saturday at the art center in downtown Parkersburg.
Joe Semple, the event organizer and art teacher at Tyler Consolidated High School, said each county has certain number of pieces that can be submitted for the exhibit, which are screened and chosen at the county level.
K-12 art teachers from all over West Virginia brought examples of their best student work for display at the art center through April 21. As part of Saturday’s exhibit kickoff, a number of awards were presented to the student artists.
First through third places were presented Saturday at the art center in various categories. There was also a $2,000 scholarship from WVU that went to one of the students.
Brendon Stout, of Weston, is a senior at Lewis County High School. He said his interest in sculpture grew from his interest in horror movies and an uncle who was into drawing. Stout tried his hand at drawing himself, but didn’t do well so he moved on to clay and other materials, which he really enjoyed.
“I usually build monsters out of clay. Sometimes I build them out of foam or latex but I mostly enjoy using clay,” he said.
Stout’s piece for the exhibit was a bit of a departure from his usual work, featuring a small dog made out of bicycle parts entitled “Rusty.” As he approaches graduation, Stout said his current plans involve becoming an art teacher.
Later Saturday, Stout — whose “Rusty” received a third place ribbon — was chosen to receive the WVU scholarship offer, Semple said.
Semple said there were also four awards sponsored by Sargent Art Co., the art supply manufacturer. Those will be presented on April 21 in Charleston during Arts Alive, with one prize each in Elementary, Middle, High School and an Overall prize. The Overall prize for the student is $1,500 while the teacher of that student receives $2,000 in art supplies.
Saturday’s event also served as a small College Day program, where students could meet and talk with representatives from four state schools about their art programs and offerings. The participating colleges included West Virginia University Division of Art and Design, Marshall University, Fairmont State University and Shepherd University.
In the art center’s ballroom, school recruiters set up stations promoting their institutions and offered the students information about available programs and possible scholarship opportunities. The colleges also conducted portfolio reviews with the students, which included examining and critiquing the students’ bodies of work, either in physical or digital format.
Terese Giobbia, coordinator of art education at West Virginia University School of Art Design, said she frequently travels around the state to meet and talk with students about arts education and opportunities in the field, both at WVU in terms of education and in the career field in general.
“I like to see what teachers are doing without the state with artwork and also meet some of the students who are creating it,” she said.