An unusual exhibition that combines paintings, sculptures, ceramics and other artwork of high school teachers with that of their students is on display at Wright State University through Sunday, March 26.
Seventeen area high schools are represented in the fourth annual High School Teacher/Student Exhibition at the Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries in the Creative Arts Center. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Artwork from Lehman Catholic High School is included in the display.
The Stein Galleries will hold a closing reception on March 26 from 4 to 5 p.m.
Organizer Glen Cebulash, chair of the Wright State Department of Art and Art History, said the exhibit gives the teachers a professional venue for their art.
“And the high school students have an opportunity to show their work in not only a beautiful contemporary space, but also an important contemporary space,” he said. “I don’t think they often have an opportunity to see their work on the wall in this context. They also get an opportunity to see what their peers and colleagues are doing in other schools.”
The exhibit includes paintings, drawings, portraits, photos, collages, sculptures, pottery, ceramics and jewelry.
“Having an inclusive show for both students and teachers is not only a dynamic way to show art, it’s a brilliant way to get more people to see the gallery, art department and university,” said exhibitor Peter A. Berwald, an art teacher at Springboro High School. “The show itself has blossomed into an incredible showcase of both student and faculty talent.”
There is abstract art and paintings and sketches of a dragonfly, cats, lions, street scenes, a skull, a cactus, roses, soap bubbles, fruit and an avocado. There are photos of a shell on the beach and the canals of Venice. Ceramics feature an elephant, a pumpkin and a teapot. A peace sign pendant is among the jewelry art.
Cebulash said those who see the exhibit will be impressed by the variety.
“That’s a real testament to what’s going on in the high schools right now,” he said. “There is a wealth of different expressive and creative methods at work here. You are also going to see a degree of professionalism in many instances. The quality of the work in many cases indicates that these students are prepared for college-level work.”
The Department of Art and Art History has 11 full-time faculty, nine studio artists and two art historians. All of the studio artists are working artists, and the art historians are working scholars in their field. Wright State students also have access to the Stein Galleries’ permanent collection and the Stein Collection itself, which includes major works by American artists.
“Students can come here and get a very, very thorough and professional education in fine art,” said Cebulash. “You can go to college, study something that you love, do well, become an expert learner and go anywhere that you want in your career.”
Graduates of the program are professional artists and teach art in K-12. In addition, they have careers in museums, galleries, nonprofit arts organizations and even unexpected areas such as banking.
The annual exhibit was launched in 2014 as a way to reach out to the community. Organizers have tried to expand the number of schools each year.
Seventeen high schools are represented in this year’s exhibition: Alter in Kettering, Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Carroll in Dayton, Dixie in New Lebanon, Greenon in Enon, Greenview in Jamestown, Hamilton, Lehman Catholic in Sidney, Mason, Northeastern in Springfield, Northmont in Clayton, Springboro, Stivers in Dayton, Waynesville, West Carrollton and Xenia.
Each teacher brings his or her art and the art of two of their students, either by selecting the artwork or holding a completion.
“You can really see the strong influence of an instructor coming out in the work of the students,” said Cebulash.
Wright State offers certificates worth up to five continuing education hours to the participating teachers.
“We think this is consistent with one of their missions, which is exhibiting work and getting their students to exhibit work,” said Cebulash.
The writer is the assistant director of public relations, communications and marketing for Wright State University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.