It’s all for the love of art for two PCHS seniors |

It’s all for the love of art for two PCHS seniors

A couple of weeks ago, Susan Galusha, AP Studio Art Drawing and Painting class teacher at Park City High School, matted, framed and transported 10 works by her students to the Springville Museum of Art in the hope that some of them would be juried into the 40th annual Utah All-State Art Show. Two of them made the cut.

The art show opens Wednesday, Feb. 22, and runs through Friday, March 23. The museum will host the exhibit’s awards ceremony on Saturday, March 10, at 11 a.m.

The 10 submitted by Galusha were chosen out of a collection of works her students had created in class.

"Everyone went through their cubbies and self-selected two pieces to present to the class," Galusha told The Park Record. "We numbered all the pieces and everyone voted on which ones to send. We were allowed to send in 10."

Out of 900 works submitted by schools from all over Utah, the museum selected two works from Galusha’s class Ali Mitchell’s oil painting "After a Rainy Day" and Jessica Ercanbrack’s pen and watercolor work "Loss of Innocence" to be included in the exhibit.

The museum also gave Mitchell’s work its Art Board of Trustees Award.

Ercanbrack and Mitchell, both seniors, and Galusha took time with The Park Record to talk about their works, the exhibition and art.

Ercanbrack feels inspired

"First of all, I felt special to be chosen by the class, let alone be selected for the show," Ercanbrack said. "I’ve been in shows before, but they weren’t anything statewide, so this is a great step toward the future. Art is something I would like to do, and I didn’t think about doing that until being in this class this year."

"Loss of Innocence," which measures 18 inches by 24 inches, is a social commentary about the media, she said.

"It focuses on a girl who is centered in a fairytale land and has kind of a spotlight on her with a bunch of dark shadows surrounding her," Ercanbrack explained. "It was an assignment for the studio class and I submitted it because my class voted for it."

Eercanback was drawn to art because of how it makes her feel.

"I personally believe that anyone can be good at art, but I think you have to love it to be in this class," she said. "Ali and I spend a lot of time after school doing art, because it’s a priority for us and it feels good. When I come here, being a young adult, I want to feel good about something I do and art makes me feel confident."

Mitchell feels honored

"Just the fact that our class chose our paintings to be submitted was the best honor, and then to see my name on the museum’s website that I had won an award was something I’m so grateful for," Mitchell said.

She titled her work "After Rainy Day" because it was inspired by a piece she saw last summer while taking some classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ill.

"My work is a self-portrait," Mitchell explained. "I did it because the original painting had a very calming and neutral mood."

"After a Rainy Day" measures 48 inches by 36 inches.

"I did it large because it feels more traditional," Mitchell said. "I was trying to connect with a certain audience down in Springville."

Although the work was accepted, Mitchell confessed that oil paints aren’t her favorite medium.

"I feel like I’m much better at drawing," she said.

The Board of Trustees Award isn’t the only award Mitchell has won from the Springville Museum of Art. She was awarded an honorable mention last year for another self-portrait done with charcoal.

The artist feels the desire to do art is something she was born with.

"I wanted to be an artist in first grade and it’s something that I’ve stuck with," she said. "It’s something that I fill my weekends with, too, and the fact that I can make something in my head tangible is good for me. I like being expressive, and I’m so excited about what I’ll be able to do in 20 years."

Art shows important for students

"We’re one of the few schools that have an AP Art program that is made of nothing but talented people," Galusha said. "This class is the best of the best in Park City High School, and they compete with the rest of the state, and this class is designed to train the students for an art career for the rest of their lives"

Galusha said competitions like the one in Springville give the students experiences she can’t teach in class.

"We’re all going down to the award ceremony on March 10, so the kids can see what the competition looks like," she said. "It’s open to anyone, so we hope some Park City people will go and support us."

The Springville Museum of Art, 126 E. 400 South, Springville, will present the 40th annual Utah All-State Art Show from Wednesday, Feb. 22, through Friday, March 23. An awards ceremony will be held at the museum on Saturday, March 10, 11 a.m. For more information, visit