FAIRBANKS - In a First Friday world dominated by skilled artists who have nearly perfected their crafts, the Bear Gallery at Pioneer Park will stand out this week.
“Up With Art,” part of ArtExpo 2010, is a chance for students grades K12 to show off the work they’ve been learning about and experimenting with in school. Today at 5:30 p.m., students from the Fairbanks North Star Borough high schools will be judged by a panel of local artists in a competition with 12 categories, including ceramics, jewelry, photography, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and graphic design, new this year. There will be top prizes in each category.
Work displayed by high school students is selected by their art teachers. Fulltime teachers in school can pick 10 student pieces, while half-time teachers can pick five. FNSB Art Center’s Karen Stomberg said that while it feels limited in that aspect, the gallery is full, and beautifully displayed.
“Any opportunity to have the work that you do presented in a gallery — it’s a real confidence booster,” she said.
She added that for students serious about art, this can be a learning experience and good practice. She explained that when students’ work is judged, it teaches them to be confident in their own work and the direction of their work. They can then choose to take their critiques and use them to improve their art.
The gallery presents elementary and middle school works, as well, for a total of 263 works. When one walks through the gallery, the progression of skill and idea gradually increases because the works are displayed in a sort of chronological order, starting with elementary school and working up through high school art.
The 19 elementary schools in the district, which includes Fairbanks, North Pole and both military bases, share only five art teachers. Stomberg is one of those five, and part of her job is to teach teachers how to implement visual arts in the classroom. For the younger students, to be displayed, “it’s very exciting,” she said. The gallery becomes a social gathering and a way to celebrate their successes.
“Up With Art” is an annual art show, dating back to the early ‘80s.
“This one feels a little bigger than usual,” Stomberg said. With 263 pieces of art, it could only be.
The gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays and this display will last until March 27.
Contact News-Miner intern Reba Lean at 459-7572.