Celebrating youth art

  • From left, Franklin Tech students Jenna Thebeau, Cole Jordan, Madison Jackson and Olivia Romanovicz, who are showing work at Artspace. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS—

  • From left, Mahar Regional School students Jeni Millogo, Grace Gillam, Mattie Budine, Abel Ledoux and Jessica Wilson, who are showing work at Artspace. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • Artspace's Teen Show accepts work of any medium. The only rules are size restrictions. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS—

  • Above, art made by area youth that’s currently on display through Feb. 14 at the Artspace's Teen Show. The gallery accepts work of any medium. The only rules are size restrictions. STAFF PHOTOs/MAX MARCUS

  • Artwork that will be displayed in the Artspace’s teen exhibit. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • Artspace's Teen Show accepts work of any medium. The only rules are size restrictions. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS—

  • Artspace's Teen Show accepts work of any medium. The only rules are size restrictions. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/30/2020 7:00:19 AM

Featuring art in different styles, in different mediums and by different artists, the yearly Teen Art Show is Artspace Community Art Center’s least organized exhibit.

“Usually, when we have a gallery show, it’s one artist and you walk in the room and there’s a feel,” said Steve Hussey, board director of the Greenfield-based gallery. “With this show, you walk in and it’s sort of like a big party.”

The show opened this week and runs through Feb. 14. An artists’ reception is this Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Now in its 46th year, the Teen Show invites art teachers at all of the public and private high schools in Franklin County to submit up to six pieces by their students.

Other than a size restriction, there are no rules. Typically, there is a wide variety of work, Hussey said; from two-dimensional art made with acrylic paint or watercolors, to 3D pieces that may range from pottery to metalwork.

At Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange, the art teachers choose what to submit by reviewing all the student pieces made that semester, looking specifically for advanced technical skills and a strong artistic vision, said Department Coordinator Helen Miller.

A pen and pencil drawing of a close-up eye by Abel Ledoux, a student at the school, is realistically detailed but the eye has three pupils and irises. She said it was modeled after images of cells duplicating themselves.

“If you saw that on a person, you’d be like, ‘That’s kind of creepy, but kind of cool,’” Ledoux said. “I like the idea of making the viewer kind of uncomfortable.”

Two abstract pieces in bold colors by Jessica Wilson and Grace Gillam are not meant to portray anything in particular, but Miller mentioned that they have a landscape-like quality.

The pieces started with a layer of watercolor paint, then layers of acrylic paint were added and pressed with rollers and spatulas to create different textures, Wilson said.

The only photo from Mahar is by Mattie Budine, taken at a weekend horse show in October. She experimented with photos of horses and people, but found problems in trying to capture moving subjects, she said. The picture she took back from the show is a close-up on a horse’s bridle piece.

“It’s this really beautiful piece of metal. So, I was just trying to get a good picture of it,” she said.

Jeni Millogo’s illustration of a “dark-haired demoness” was made for an in-class prompt, she said.

“As soon as I saw a dark-haired demoness prompt, I was like, ‘I’m not going to pass up that opportunity,’” she said.

Her character copies elements of Japanese anime style, she said, and shows her interest in astrology and outer space.

“I like to imagine it as if her dad is Satan himself, and she’s like, ‘He’s not here today, I’m gonna sit on his throne,’” she said.

Franklin County Technical School in Turners Falls does not have a curricular art program, so it handles its submissions differently. Marcus McLaurin, who teaches computer programming and coordinates the school’s art club, takes submissions from art club members, but also asks the school’s shop teachers for submissions from their students. This can lead to some interesting results.

Jenna Thebeau, an autobody shop student, submitted a car door that she had repaired and repainted. She started the project in her sophomore year, but at the time didn’t have the skills to finish it — especially the detailed painting that it would have required — so she just painted it black with basic racing stripes, she said. This year she took it up again for her senior capstone project and repainted it with flames.

Olivia Romanovicz, a welding shop student, made a sculpture of a guitar by welding together metal mechanical parts — nuts, bolts, gears, wrenches, spark plugs, pistons. “There’s probably a list of 50 things on it,” she said. It was inspired by an ex-boyfriend who played guitar and was a mechanic, she said.

Madison Jackson, who is also in the welding shop, made a metal kangaroo at the suggestion of her teacher. There are about 10 individual metal pieces in the sculpture, she said, which she cut and welded together in about two or three days.

Lydia Barrett-Miller, the president of the school’s art club, submitted drawings that she made on her own. She is a programming and web development student, but does not use a computer to make her art.

“I prefer drawing on paper,” she said. “The things I draw would be a little more complex to draw on a computer.”

Cole Jordan’s piece is a decorated baritone ukulele, which he made by first modifying a children’s-size guitar, then pouring layers of acrylic paint onto it. “I had a rough idea of where I wanted the colors to land,” he said.

He said he normally draws and had not made anything in this sort of genre before.

“I threw myself out of my comfort zone,” he said.


Max Marcus covers the news in Montague, Gill and Erving. Reach him at 413-772-0261, ext. 261.

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