STATE COLLEGE — State College Area School District students’ artistic talents are on full display this month at the HUB Robeson Gallery on the Penn State campus.
In its final year in the gallery, which is slated to be converted into office space, the annual K-12 Art Show features 152 student works representing sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, fiber, mixed media and ceramics.
“We strive to build a strong connection between our school community and the local State College community,” Park Forest Middle School art teacher Nicole Packard said. “This show is an amazing opportunity for K-12 SCASD students to be able to share their artwork with not only their families and friends but also the State College and Penn State communities.”
Eighteen district art teachers selected up to 10 student works for a professionally designed, hung and lit show, which will culminate Jan. 26 with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. The gallery is open noon to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and noon to 4 p.m. Friday to Sunday.
“I think when students see their work and/or their peers work hung in a dedicated gallery space so professionally, it can really impact their attitude about art,” said State High art teacher Danielle Crowe, the district’s K-12 art coordinator. “While making art always has an internal/personal component, there is also an external/communication component. An opportunity to share and celebrate it with an in-person audience really brings that to light and tends to get students more excited about art.”
Mount Nittany Middle School art teacher Amy Barnhart said “any space that an artist gets to present their work, just for the sake of presenting it, is like the awards show for a sport banquet.”
“When we place that art in a spot that is special, that invites people to come and look a little longer,” she said. “It lets everyone know, viewers and artists alike, that our school district and city values this beautiful, mysterious and sometimes uncomfortable way of expressing ideas.”
She noted her sixth-graders “still remember the honor” of being chosen for the show as second- or third-graders.
“There is a genuine smile on their faces and a lift in their speech when they tell me about it,” she said. “We need more of these uplifting opportunities for our artists. It will be them who go on to influence our culture through their visual means. Isn’t it right and noble to show them we value their art making early on?’