Tonawanda News — For the third year, more than 100 North Tonawanda students will have their work displayed during the Student Spotlight art exhibit at the Carnegie Art Center, giving them a real-world taste of a professional environment.
Chris Cook, co-advisor for the district’s Academy of Engineering and Architecture and head of the high school’s art department, said a range of mediums will be displayed starting this week, from ceramics and photography to pen-and-ink drawings and paintings.
The age groups of participants also runs the gamut from third through 12th graders, who created about 150 pieces shown in the gallery through March 21.
”When the kids see a piece of their work hanging up int the gallery it gives them a real nice sense of self esteem and an accomplishment,” Cook said. “And it puts them in a professional setting.”
The venture began in 2012 when a former district art teacher with ties to the Carnegie Art Center suggested launching the show. During Thursday’s opening night, the popularity it has gained among community members was obvious, with dozens of the students’ friends and family members, along with residents, streaming into the gallery.
The exhibit comes following another popular show at Daemon College, where several select students recently displayed their works, and ahead of the larger district art show expected to take place in May at the Alumni Student Activity Center on Meadow Drive.
The shows are being held as the district has cut the arts program for kindergarten through second grade, as well as several teachers at the high school level. Six art instructors now serve in all of the district’s schools, down from nine several years ago.
Gregg Martin, who teaches ceramics, drawing and advanced painting at the high school, lauded the progress that has been made at the Carnegie, located at 240 Goundry St., while he said it is a group effort among art teachers that brings the event to fruition.