Local students tell their stories at the Kimball Art Center’s Wasatch Back exhibit
Wasatch Back Student Art Show
Through July 7
Kimball Art Center, 1401 Kearns Blvd.
Free, but donations will be accepted
A train delayed this year’s annual Wasatch Back Student Art Show at the Kimball Art Center.
The annual exhibit opened on June 15, a couple of weeks later than usual because the nonprofit celebrated the sesquicentennial of the Transcontinental Railroad with another gallery.
The previous show, Zhi Lin’s “Chinaman’s Chance,” closed on June 2, and it took Kimball Art Center curator Nancy Stoaks a few days to receive, organize and plan how to display the art created by more than 250 students from Summit and Wasatch counties.
The student’s works will be on display through July 7, and Stoaks is just as amazed at the young artists’ works as she has been in the past.
“We have work from kindergartners to high school seniors that range from sculpture, paintings and textile art,” she said. “We have just under 200 pieces, because there are collaborative installations that was created by more than one student.”
This year’s theme was “storytelling,” according to Stoaks.
“Teachers led their students in projects that spanned a wide variety of how they have interpreted the theme,” she said. “It was fun to see that come together in the gallery.”
Each teacher decided their students’ mediums.
“(The Kimball Art Center) talks with the teachers about the theme at the beginning of the school year, so they can see what fits best and start to build that into their curriculums,” Stoaks said.
The challenge for Stoaks is to figure out how to show these works.
“I have no idea of what the students are making until two weeks before we open the show,” she said. “So I use that time to basically lay everything out in front of me and start with a few key pieces.”
The key pieces are ones Stoaks feels would look good on different walls of the Kimball Art Center’s main gallery.
“After I decided on those, I go from there,” she said. “It’s a puzzle that evolves over that installation period. And it’s one of my favorite things I do every year.”
Stoaks is always surprised at the students’ creativity.
“It’s inspiring to see how imaginative these kids are,” she said. “And I know that’s in part of the amazing art teachers we have in the community who inspire these great projects.”
Stoaks also enjoys seeing the students’ expressions when they look at their works exhibited in a professional setting.
“They get really excited, and you can see how proud they are of the work they have done,” she said.
In addition to the art, Stoaks has set up a table of interactive projects that tie into the Kimball Art Center’s Wasatch Back Student Art Show.
“People can participate in a fill-in-the-blank story project, where they can contribute to a community-made comic book that will become a wild, ongoing story,” she said.
Visitors can also decide next year’s theme.
“We have six different ideas for next year’s theme, so I am inviting the community members to choose the ones they like best,” she said.
The Wasatch Back Student Art Show helps the Kimball Art Center fulfill its mission, which is to inspire creativity in the community, Stoaks said.
“We want to reach all ages from the youngest to the oldest,” she explained. “This is what we do, and this is why we’re here.”
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