A chandelier made of chicken wire and shredded plastic bags. A dancing angel figure made of packing tape. Pottery, paintings, drawings, collages, and photographs of every description. All this and more can be found at the Yates County Student Art Show on display at the Arts Center of Yates County through March 17. The work has been created by middle and high school students in Penn Yan, Dundee, and Marcus Whitman school districts.

A crowd of more than 280 proud students, friends, and relatives celebrated the talent on display at the March 10 exhibit opening. Teachers in each of the three districts hang the best work produced by their students during the year. Three professional artists – painter Bonnie Barney, sculptor (and Keuka College professor emeritus) Dexter Benedict, and photographer (and RIT professor emeritus) Howard LeVant judged this year’s event, with awards given in the areas of two dimensional, three dimensional, and photographic art for each of the three participating school. Thanks to the generosity of teacher associations in each district, student winners get small cash prizes, just as professional artists do in any “juried” show.

This year’s best in show award went to a complex, detailed, and thought provoking drawing by Dundee senior Nena Silliman.

The “trash-elier” created by a group of Dundee students won first place for three dimensional work from that school, while the group of Penn Yan 7th graders were recognized with a first place award for their packing tape sculpture “Dancing to Heaven.”

At the awards ceremony, Arts Center Executive Director Kris Pearson announced that the Arts Center Board of Directors had voted to designate the yearly art award given by the Arts Center at Penn Yan Academy’s graduation as the “Lynn Beach Excellence in Art Award” in honor of retiring Penn Yan middle school art teacher Lynn Beach. At the same time, the Penn Yan Art Guild voted to designate their yearly Penn Yan art award as the “Robert Gillespie Excellence in Art Award” in recognition of popular local artist and retired Penn Yan art teacher Bob Gillespie. The Arts Center and the Penn Yan Art Guild also give yearly art awards at Dundee’s graduation ceremonies.

The student art exhibit can be seen at the Arts Center Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – or call for a special appointment. Congratulations to the student award winners and to all the area students who produced such fine work for this show.

For more information, contact the Arts Center at 315-536-8226.