Painting by Emma Blaxter

Acrylic painting by
Emma Blaxter, a senior at
Brattleboro Union High School

Drawing by Jillana Simon

Detail of drawing by
Jillana Simon, a sophomore

Charcoal by Big Sam

Self-portrait in charcoal
by "Big Sam" from
Brattleboro Union High School

March is Student Art Month

I've always thought it very appropriate for Student Art Month to fall in March, as that's when the extension of wintry weather begins to wear on our hopes for an early spring. An infusion of inspired artwork by our youngsters can be as powerful as the bouquet of regional flower shows in giving us an awareness of new life, new energy, new ways of looking at the world.

The Arts Council of Windham County (ACWC) has sponsored this annual celebration for 25 years. Art teachers from all over the county arrange for exhibits of their students' work in storefronts, libraries, and other public spaces, and this promise of some measure of special attention seems to bring out the Muse in their charges. Even when following a common theme, the work developed by a single class of students is a fascinating reflection of the unique sense of color, design, and expressiveness in each child.

For many years, our best high school students' work was unavailable for exhibiting in March because it was being shown at the Statehouse in Montpelier with work by peers from around Vermont. Student Art Month was extended to feature a high school show during April. In fact, for a few years (when the late Tommy Thomas was available to do the schlepping) it toured the county, with week-long stops in Wilmington, Brattleboro, Townshend, and Bellows Falls.

For the past couple of seasons, however, the High School Show has been more sedentary, with maybe one change of venue. This year it will open on Gallery Walk, March 4, in the Robt. H. Gibson River Garden at 157 Main St. in Brattleboro, where it will be displayed through the 24th of the month. Stop by for a festive reception on March 4 between 5:30 and 8:30 pm to enjoy the work of students from Brattleboro Union High School, Bellows Falls Union High School, The Compass School, Leland & Gray Union High School, The Putney School, Vermont Academy, and Wilmington High School.

Three works per school will be selected for special commentary by a panel of judges, and these artists will receive a gift certificate for art supplies from Zephyr Designs. Artists whose works are chosen as Best in Show for a three-dimensional piece and a mixed-media piece will receive a gift certificate for a class at an area art school.

The High School Show is supported by grants from Brattleboro Savings & Loan Association and Clear Solutions, Inc.

For further information about Student Art Month, contact Marie Procter at 802/254-2115.

Copyright 2005, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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