Take a trip to a happy place

If you are feeling a little gloomy, if lack of interaction with others has you down, if uncertainty about what the future holds leaves you kind of tense, I know where you can go to brighten your spirits, cheer yourself up, calm your nerves.

You will need internet access, because that place is on YouTube, but here’s the address for Anna Bier Gallery’s 2021 K-8 Art exhibit, which will transport you to a happy place: https://youtu.be/ZKHrlwGEdwk

Anna Bier Gallery Director Tamera McNulty annually contacts all Darke County elementary schools as well as the home school community to solicit entries for the Gallery’s Springtime exhibit; this year, participating schools include DeColores Montessori School, Greenville City School, St. Mary’s Catholic School, and Versailles Exempted Village School. Although restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic preclude a physical show in the Gallery, the students’ artistic efforts are a joy to behold, exhibiting amazing imagination and creativity. Greenville High School Art Instructor Melanie Huffman and a group of her third-level students judged the artwork, making difficult choices about which pieces would receive ribbons and cash prizes in addition to the participation certificates awarded to all of the young artists whose work was submitted.

Delightful works demonstrating amazing artistic skill can be found on each grade level; choosing the winning pieces was an exceedingly difficult task, with all of the young artists deserving of accolades. The Best of Show prize was given to home-schooled sixth grader Anna Cox for her elegant portrait entitled “Joyce,” a distinguished alcohol ink drawing that features a lovely girl before a floral background utilizing luscious blues and yellow.

The exhibit is organized by grade level; when you access the site, the first image to greet your eyes is “Blue Bird,” by kindergartner Alison Jones; this captivatingly cheerful bird surrounded by sparkling flowers induces joy at first glance, as well as the desire to linger for a while longer. But wondrous images continue to emerge as you wander through this wonderland of creativity; when the next picture moves into view, you will once again delight in the wonder of an avian portrait, “Snowy Owls” by Grady Luthman.

Abigail Selhorst’s picture of “Japanese Cherry Blossoms” has the aura of a stark print from Japan, with an added dollop of joy contributing additional charm to the pretty picture. Ty Garber drew a “Colorful Sea of Sharks,” a perfect description for a compartmentalized picture of orchid, aqua, chartreuse, and orange sharks swimming in seas colored in blue, lime green, tangerine, and hot pink. Leah Bergman painted a flower-filled blue and white “Chinese Vase” that exhibits mature understanding of proportion and layout beyond that expected from a quite young artist.

Another striking image with Asian influence, “Japanese Kimono” by Lilly Michael, shows a charming girl wearing an intricately patterned garment. Elizabeth Grieshop created a trio of peppermint-striped avian homes entitled “Winter Birdhouse” in which a yellow bird chirps happily against a snowy background. Another season is brought to mind in “Leaves” by Hayden Burns; a graceful strand of colorful autumn leaves stretches across a beautiful background of mottled blues. In a second evocation of fall, Scarlet McNulty painted “Spooky,” a bewitching montage of cheerful pumpkins standing under a foreboding sky.

“Harvest Garden’ by Samantha Elam also features pumpkins, but in this work the colorful orbs are accompanied by a jolly sunflower on a bright sunny day. Jack Subler created an impressive “Zentangle Rhino” using fascinating combinations of dots, lines, curves, and orbs to represent the beast’s iconic wrinkled skin.

The rhythmic lines and contours of “King Tut” by Brooklyn Kreusch instantly evoke the majesty and intrigue of ancient Egypt, while “The Battle of Corruption,” a fascinating comic strip by Vera Cox whisks the viewer to a stark landscape which ends the exhibit with an intriguing peek into the future.

I predict that the output of our young local artists will take you to a happy place, leading you to feel better in the present and less anxious about the future; go ahead, take the trip.

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By Marilyn Delk

DCCA News

Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected] 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.