Student art takes center stage at the Arts Center

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Approximately 180 works of art created by middle and high school students in the Dundee, Marcus Whitman, and Penn Yan school districts is on display at the Arts Center of Yates County. The work represents some of the best art produced by students throughout the year in a variety of artistic mediums, including painting and drawing, ceramics, and photography.

With the support of the parent-teacher organizations in each of the three districts, a panel of professional artists judge the work, and cash prizes are awarded, as is the case in professional juried art shows.

This year’s volunteer judges included Arts Center board president and photographer Daniel Crozet, Keuka College art professor Melissa Newcomb, and wood artist/sculptor Tom Scott. The judges spent more than two hours considering the work, and agreed that many of their decisions were made particularly difficult by the consistently high quality of the art on display. Of particular difficulty was choosing “Best in Show.”

Work by Penn Yan senior Rita Santos and Marcus Whitman senior Noah Santiago both stood out to the judges, who solved the issue by asking for a special “judge’s award” for Santiago’s piece. While Santos is planning to pursue education at a college level, the class in which Santiago created his piece was the first art class he’s taken.

“There’s a good mix of technique and creativity,” said Crozet. “It’s obvious that the students took their assignments and ran with the ideas.”

Scott agrees. “The hard work and thought that went into so many of pieces is quite obvious,” he said.

Newcomb was particularly pleased with the many mixed media pieces on display. She has been encouraging her students at Keuka College to go beyond a single media and experiment with new ways to express an idea.

“Some of the work on display here is already at a college level,” Newcomb believes.

The student show opened Friday, April 25, with an opportunity for the public to see the art and meet many of the artists. The show runs through Monday, May 5.