The Anna Bier Gallery is currently packed with joyous and inventive work created by local high school students. Anna Bier Gallery Director Marcia Weidner has once again chosen excellent pieces for the Gallery’s annual High School Exhibit, displaying the creative talents of local youth; however, this will be Marcia’s final show, as she is retiring after 20 years of filling the space with diverse and beautiful art, each season mounting five exhibits in the gallery located within historic Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me; but presenting the blossoming talents of our budding artists provides a wonderful way to close this chapter of my life on a forward-looking note, ” Weidner stated.
A dramatic black and white acrylic painting by Ansonia junior Emily Bennett earned Best of Show, the striking contrast between light and dark and surprising texture of the work immediately capturing attention. The first place ribbon went to Greenville senior Victoria Lucy’s portrait of a young girl, a skillfully rendered piece demonstrating a strong understanding of human anatomy as well as artistic talent.
John Myers, a senior at Franklin-Monroe, won second place with his stately and graceful ceramic piece. Third place went to Greenville sophomore Shelby Herrmann for her highly creative and colorful torn-paper collage. Winning fourth place was Kaitlyn Bundenthal, a Franklin-Monroe junior; her captivating pastel transports the viewer to Venice as jaunty gondolas float in front of charming Italian villas.
Franklin-Monroe senior Bryanna Diceanu earned fifth place with her stark winter scene featuring an old tractor sitting amid barren trees in a snow-covered landscape, a blazing fire in the foreground bringing warmth and life to the piece. Honorable Mention went to Greenville freshman Shelby Johns for an adorable portrait of a dolphin grinning warily at the viewer. Two masterly works in pencil by Greenville senior Genesis Malin also earned Honorable Mentions—an interestingly cropped clock face and an extremely realistic Green Wave jacket hanging over a stool.
Much noteworthy work remains that did not earn an award. Mississinawa Valley sophomore Elijah Livingston’s life-like pencil portrait of a handsome young man in a Blackhawk shirt appears about to speak to the viewer. Mesmerizing color photos by two Arcanum seniors also demand attention; Angus Wallen’s camera looks out an abandoned window draped with burlap, while Brittany Kenney captures crystallized snowflakes sparkling in almost three-dimensional splendor.
Jericka Thacker brings dramatic balance to a striking floral watercolor that somehow emulates a tinted black and white photograph, while Riley House’s purple and blue lilies on a yellow background delight the eye with color and verve; both of these students are Bradford freshmen. Happy feelings are generated by Versailles senior Brigette Holsapple’s pretty picture of a beautiful bluebird perched on a flowering branch, an emotion also engendered by the vividly colorful irises painted by Piper Phillips, a Mississinawa Valley junior.
Tri-Village sophomore Desiray Fourman crafted a charmingly realistic rendition of birds on a wire from red and blue string woven across nails. A delightful paper cut-out by Arcanum junior Mara Wetzel features a fisherman sitting on the dock, his line dangling over a fanciful fish created by graceful scalloped cuts.
Many eye-catching three-dimensional works are on display, including a unique sculpture created of pine cones and leaves by Versailles senior Hannah Grilliot. Ansonia sophomore Ode Zeller shaped clay to create an endearing sage green fish-shaped serving dish, while Tri-Village student Jared Godown’s breakfast food looks good enough to eat, his ceramic sausage, eggs, and toast creating an illusion that whets the appetite.
The joyous inventiveness of these and other youthful artists will remain on display through May 27. The Anna Bier Gallery is open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.; to view the art at other times or to arrange a tour, contact Marcia Weidner at 937-417-3497. The High School Art Exhibit will also be open from 6 until 9 p.m. during Main Street Greenville’s First Friday tour of St. Clair Memorial Hall on May 5. The delightful and thoughtful creative output of our community’s youth will lift your spirits and inspire hope for the future; don’t miss seeing it!
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.