Tonawanda News

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March 6, 2013

Student show displays the power of art

NT's Student Spotlight show opens at Carnegie

Tonawanda News — In a way, it’s not just artwork on display in the North Tonawanda school district’s “Creative Visual Arts Student Spotlight.”

It’s also the students themselves.

From self-portraits to effigy pots, the young artists put themselves into their work, said North Tonawanda Middle School art teacher Jacalyn Fernandez. She said the students show a range of emotions when they learn their work is in the show, out where everyone can see it — often excited, but sometimes a little insecure and even afraid.

“I think everybody’s like that a little” when their work is on display, Fernandez said. “I’m like that. Terrified ... but at the same time, they can’t wait. They’re just a little bit more honest about it, I guess.”

The exhibit, which opens with a reception from 6:30 to 7:30 tonight at the Carnegie Art Center on Goundry Street in North Tonawanda, includes more than 100 select works by students from Ohio, Drake, Meadow and Spruce elementary schools and North Tonawanda middle and high schools. Everything from mixed media to computer-generated work and watercolors to clay sculpture is represented.

The yearly show allows the students to have the experience of exhibiting their work in an actual gallery, showing the community what they’re learning and what they can do, said Mary Simpson, Carnegie’s director.

“It’s great,” she said. “We’re always excited that this treasured community asset — an original Carnegie library — is used by the NT community.”

The middle school students’ work was inspired by painter Gustav Klimt, along with still-life drawings and clay sculpture, Fernandez said. 

The Native American-inspired effigy pots are decorated with symbols representing things going on in their lives or things they value, along with a representation of their favorite animal. Brightly colored Day of the Dead skulls memorialize a loved one, or even represent students themselves. The clay skulls on display at the center feature decorations including sports equipment, a chef’s hat ... even the NT school logo.

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