Expressing emotions

Published 10:37 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Suffolk Museum art shows typically feature career artists, lifelong hobbyists and people with years of experience creating artwork.

However, this month the museum will display about 136 works from people less experienced with art — high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.

The annual Exhibit of Excellence: Suffolk Student Art will begin with a party for the students Feb. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The show features the work of students in grades 10, 11 and 12 from King’s Fork, Lakeland and Nansemond River high schools, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and the Governor’s School for the Arts. It is sponsored by the Suffolk Art League in cooperation with the Suffolk Fine Arts Commission.

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A total of 11 honors — a first, second and third place, five honorable mentions and three juror’s choice awards — were awarded by the juror, Betty Lockhart Anglin.

“For young people, I think the quality is good,” Anglin said. “There were some real eclectic things.”

Anglin has been a professor in the fine arts program at Christopher Newport University for more than 35 years. She also serves as an instructor at the Peninsula Arts Association. Her art has been recognized nationwide, and she has works in many corporate, public and private collections throughout the country.

The works in the show range from photography and mixed media to pencil drawings, pastels, papier mache, plaster casts and fabric art.

Anglin was most impressed, she said, by the originality of the works. Young artists have a tendency to copy the work of established artists, she said, but the work in the Exhibit of Excellence showcases innovation — particularly the first-place work, which will not be announced until the reception on Tuesday.

Because many of the student artists are in art classes at school, many of the works were obviously class exercises. However, those that made it into the show went above and beyond, Anglin said.

“I know that the teachers are giving specific assignments,” Anglin said. “You can see the ones that come out of that assignment, but there’s always something extra for those who end up at the top, even within those boundaries. For children, the best work comes out of creating boundaries and then letting them break those boundaries by using their own ideas.”

Linda Bunch, executive director of the Suffolk Art League, said the variety of mediums in the show allowed the student artists to express a range of sentiments.

“Teens are experiencing a lot of emotions and social issues, and that comes out in the artwork,” Bunch said, adding “This show always really impresses me with the level of mechanical ability as well as creativity.”

The show will be on display through Feb. 28. The Suffolk Museum, 118 Bosley Ave., is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 925-0448.