With no gallery, CCHS art show goes online
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles City High School art teachers Brian Bohlen and Tia McInroy usually spend the first week of April hanging the artwork of their students on the walls of the Charles City Arts Center.
Thanks to COVID-19, this April is not a usual one, so instead the teachers have been building an art show online.
“Obviously we wish the art show could be at the Charles City Arts Center, like it is each April, but we have to adapt to these times,” McInroy said. “It’s important to share our students’ artwork with the community.”
The work of more than 60 CCHS art students from grades 9-12 is now available for viewing at the site the teachers built at cchsartshow.weebly.com. The work includes quite a few different disciplines — drawings, paintings, pottery, photography and more.
To prepare for the school district’s annual art show the teachers typically set aside outstanding student work throughout the year, then in March spend time matting and framing the 2D work.
“This March we spent time taking photographs, communicating with students and building the website,” McInroy said.
McInroy said that although in-person interactions with the students can’t take place this year, she’s hopeful many in the community will visit the site and support and encourage the students.
Senior artist Kylie Effle said that although the cancelation of the annual show a the CCAC was upsetting, “I’m glad we are still having it and I’m also glad that it’s going to bring a little sunshine into these dark times.”
Senior Abby Wedeking said she was elated that the art will still be presented to the public.
“Personally, I feel that showing off an artist’s work not only encourages the artist to continue the practice, but it brings a certain beauty into everyone’s life,” she said. “This way of presenting the art is different for sure, but I am grateful for it.”
Wedeking and Effle are in CCHS’s AP Art & Design class, which is an advanced placement course in which students make original artwork, compile portfolios consisting of 15 images, and submit these to the College Board for evaluation in May.
Students in this class create artwork at a faster rate and higher level, and are encouraged to push their skills and creativity, according to McInroy. High scores on their portfolios can earn students college credit.
“Mrs. McInroy gives us a lot of leeway to make whatever we want, but she also pushes us really hard to work out of our comfort zones by making us do things like exploring new art mediums,” said senior Brooklyn Tynan, who is also in the AP class.
This is Effle’s second year in the AP course.
“It’s basically a more refined studio art class. We go in and have a set date where we all will critique each other,” she said. “This helps develop our time management skills, our communication skills, and a tolerance to understand that critiques are suggestions that you should reflect on positively and not negatively.”
The students all said the time off from school has not inhibited their creativity, and in some ways has encouraged it.
“I’ve actually been making a lot of art,” Tynan said. “I’ve started about five projects that I’m currently working on, and I’ve finished two.”
“I have been working on a few pieces for some friends,” Wedeking added. “I love creating, so by giving myself projects to do it helps keep my mind busy.”
Effle said she’s made three different pieces and has “sketched non-stop” since school was closed.
“I’m pretty sure by the time this quarantine is over, my art will become more mature,” she said. “Like they say, being talented at something is not a gift you are born with but a gift you work for with practice.”
Effle has also be using this unusual time to bond with family.
“I’ve also been trying to make as many memories with my family before I leave for school next year,” she said.