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Q&A with Robert Placky, Coordinator of State High Alumni Art Exhibition `The Decade3'

by on September 04, 2012 8:27 AM

It was 20 years ago that State College art teacher Robert Placky organized the first Decade Show exhibition. The show highlighted the works of State High alumni who are now working in professional art careers.

This month, The Decade3 show opens in the HUB-Robeson Galley. The show runs Sept. 28 through Nov. 18 and will feature students’ works from 1982 through 2011.

Nearly 60 artists will be represented in the exhibition. Placky took the time to share some of his thoughts regarding the show, which includes a film festival this year.

T&G: How did you come up with the idea for the first Decade Show in 1992?

Placky: At the time, I had been at the high school for 10 years. I noticed that there were a lot of high-caliber students. During this time, I had a student exhibit at Pattee going on. I received a call from the director saying they had a cancellation and asking if I would like to continue my exhibit. Just then I had a thought. I had a lot of students either graduating or coming home soon and I thought it’d be fun to do an exhibit of alumni work. It was also my anniversary of being at the high school for 10 years, so I thought, “Let’s call it the Decade Show.”

T&G: What made you decide to add a film festival (held November 2-3 at the State Theatre) to the show?

Placky: We expanded the show because more of our students have been going into film and video. So, as we started calling for entries, we noticed that we had the potential to have a film festival. We anticipate it to be a very successful addition. We want it to be like a real film festival.

T&G: What is your goal for the show?

Placky: We will be trying to raise $25,000 for the Alla Prima Fund. The purpose of this fund is to be used by the State College Area School District K-12 students to enhance their art and design education. The money will then be managed by the Centre County Community Foundation. We plan to raise the money through an auction and through proceeds. We are also looking for sponsors to support our cause.

T&G: Do you think the show will continue to grow in the future?

Placky: I’d like it to. There’s already talk about the film festival becoming an annual event. The show will probably grow under someone else’s eyes soon, though. I’m approaching my 38th year of teaching, so I’m probably retiring in a few years.

T&G: How will the show affect current State High students who aspire to a career in the arts?

Placky: Our goal is to bring every K-12 student to see the show through field trips. We want to showcase all kinds of careers in the arts in hopes to show kids that they can do this! It’s not a dream they can’t follow.

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