Wasatch Back students invite the public to take ‘A Closer Look’ into their art | ParkRecord.com

Wasatch Back students invite the public to take ‘A Closer Look’ into their art

Exhibit will be open through May 28

Art students from Summit and Wasatch counties would like the public to take "A Closer Look" at their creations that are on display at the Kimball Art Center.

The Wasatch Back Student Art Show will open on Saturday, April 29, and features works from nearly 400 students who hail from 11 schools.

"We also have work from students who are home schooled," said Nancy Stoaks, the Kimball Art Center exhibition director. "All of the pieces are created by kids in grades kindergarten through 12."

The goal of the annual exhibit is to showcase and encourage the students to create art, Amy MacDonald, the center's artistic director, said.

"Art is for everyone," she told The Park Record during a joint interview with Stoaks. "For students to have a goal to work towards, in this case have their works exhibited in a professional setting and gallery to showcase their talents, is really important.

"This is a show where you see things that are made by people they know. That's a whole different experience if they come see a world-renowned artist."

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The show also introduces students to the Kimball Art Center.

"When you're an art center or art museum, you want everyone to be engaged with art," MacDonald said. "You don't want a separation or a divide from the community. So, I love that this feels like it's all about community."

Stoaks said the Wasatch Back Student Art Show, an annual exhibit, is the most fun for her to curate.

"It's so exciting to see the kids come into the gallery and see their faces light up when they see their works on the walls," she said. "It's a fantastic reminder of why we do what we do."

The art includes sculptures, paintings, drawings, interactive works and multi-media pieces.

"It's pretty much anything goes as long as you follow the theme," Stoaks said.

MacDonald said "A Closer Look," the theme students were asked to keep in mind when creating their art, conjures different meanings.

"It can mean anything from examining something in more detail to looking at something from different sides," she said.

Stoaks has seen interesting interpretations of the theme.

"There has been examinations of patterns, shapes and textures," she said. "Some of the art also gives us a closer look at ourselves with different takes on portraiture and the world around us.

"There are works about nature that emphasize thinking about a sense of place or culture."

Setting up the exhibit is a challenge for Stoaks.

"It's a puzzle, but that's something that I love about this show," she said. "We have to think about how 400 pieces come together in the gallery. I don't know what the works will be until they come in, so I basically lay everything out and spend time looking at what we have.

"I have to think about the relationships the pieces can have with each other or what areas some pieces would look good in and then build around that."

The pieces needed to be delivered to the Kimball Art Center by April 18.

"So, we had just two weeks to get it all set up," Stoaks said.

In addition to works created by local school students, the Wasatch Back Student Art Show includes pieces by the Kimball Art Center's Young Artist Academy.

"Young Artist Academy is for students ages 13 to 18 who are really interested in delving deeply into creating work, learning technique for a profession and how to use art to invigorate the community," MacDonald said. "There are 10 students who are in YAA, but we hope some of the students who are showing in the exhibit will apply for YAA in the future."

Art students who are interested in the program need to apply.

"We ask artists to submit two pieces of work and they have to write about their pieces and why they want to be in YAA, so we can learn their philosophies about art," MacDonald said. "We have a blind jury go through the applications and they select who they feel would be a good fit."

MacDonald said the students should realize joining the academy is a yearlong commitment.

"It's not a class you can drop in and out of," she said. "And you have to reapply every year."

If a student is committed, he or she can develop into imaginative artists and participants in the Wasatch Back Student Art Show.

"I love what all of the YAA does for this show," McDonald said. 'Some of these works are quite sophisticated in their execution."

Some of the works created by the academy are interactive. And MacDonald said interactive elements can also be found throughout the exhibit.

"When we select a theme, we poll the staff on ideas," she said. "The top two or three ideas, usually the top two, get its own display and people who come to the Kimball Art Center can color in a square to vote.

"Next year's theme will either be 'Art and Color' or 'Art in the Environment.' And that will be decided by the end of this year's exhibit."

In addition to the voting, another interactive element of the Wasatch Back Student Art Show is a scavenger hunt.

"We're hoping this will get everyone to take a closer look at some of the work," MacDonald said with a laugh. "We have a list of items that kids can find throughout the exhibit."

The Wasatch Back Student Art Show: "A Closer Look" will open to the public on Saturday, April 29, at the Kimball Art Center, 1401 Kearns Blvd. The annual exhibit was created to showcase the art of aspiring young artists in grades K through 12, who live in Wasatch and Summit Counties. For information, visit http://www.kimballartcenter.org.