First high school art exhibit to begin March 1st

Sofia Bouma – Staff Writer

As the months of holiday whimsy have come to an end, Dordt University students are looking for other prospects to capture their attention. One event students could add to their docket is the high school art showcase, which is set to premiere in the Campus Center Art Gallery on March 1 and will be displayed throughout the month.

The project, spearheaded by art professor David Platter, is the first of its kind, and will feature artwork from both regional and national locations. The process for art selection is twofold: In order for a student’s work to be showcased in the gallery, the student must be nominated by an art teacher and submit a piece by January 31. This year’s juror, local artist and former Dordt faculty member Jake Van Wyke, will then select pieces from those submitted to be displayed.

Schools that have entered submissions include MOC Floyd Valley, Unity Christian, and Sioux Falls Christian High Schools.

“We wanted to showcase the excellent work that’s being done in high schools around the area,” Platter said.

The idea for the showcase came about last year, when Alicia Bower coordinated the attendance of local high schools at the “Heads, Faces, and Spiritual Encounter” exhibit, which featured a variety of well-known artworks. Students were engaged, visibly excited to be interacting with both the artwork displayed and the college campus they were surrounded by.

The Dordt art faculty realized reaching out to high school students might be a good way to show them what Dordt is about when it comes to the arts, as well as give both college faculty and students the opportunity to see student creativity across the region.
But the reasons for the student showcase go beyond a recruitment opportunity.

“We really think that celebrating and sharing the creative gifts that God’s given us is important,” Platter said. “God is the inventor of creativity. And when we think about it that way, I think we have a job to do to serve our community in a way that celebrates that God has given us these imaginations. I would love for us to honor and celebrate that, recognizing it especially from the younger members of our community.”

According to Platter, the net for student artwork was originally cast regionally. However, high schools across the nation originating from locations such as California, Washington, and Michigan, have caught wind of the idea and are interested in participating in the showcase. Though it is likely that only some of these non-regional schools will submit pieces this year, there is hope from the art department that the high school art showcase will continue, and potentially expand, in the years to come.

In addition to being an opportunity for high schoolers to display their artwork, the showcase will be an opportunity for college students and faculty to see artwork that is being created in the larger community. It also may serve as motivation for some to rekindle their artistic pursuits.

“I think in some ways, that affirmation of recognizing excellence in younger students might remind current college students of, ‘Hey, I had that spark, that spark is still alive, and God is still working in me,’” Platter said.

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