Student artwork featured in multiple shows and galleries

Simone Vaillancourt, print editor-in-chief

Students who participate in art classes at Edina High School have several opportunities to showcase their work in local shows and galleries. This year, the fine arts staff has been encouraging students to show their work in galleries from Edina to Minneapolis.

The Art 4 Shelter fundraiser held by the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) in conjunction with Simpson housing, a transitional housing facility in Minneapolis, welcomed the work of several students last year. According to the Art 4 Shelter website, the event raised over $116,000, equating “3,315 nights of safe shelter for men and women experiencing homelessness.” The gallery featured over 1,000 original works of art by both novice and professional artists, with submissions being collected throughout the school year.

Additionally, art students have the opportunity to showcase their work at the Edina Art Center during the annual Teen Art Show, held from April 6-26. EHS Fine arts teacher Dalen Towne, who specializes in Advanced Placement art courses, plays a key role in getting students involved in local galleries like that at the Art Center.

“The Teen Art Show has been an annual thing that we’ve done for over five years,” Towne said. “What I do is I go and talk to kids and tell them ‘your work is good enough.’ For that show, it’s a combination of my encouragement and them saying ‘I think this has a chance.’”

Aside from local art shows, students also take part in the State Fair art competition and gallery. Senior Maria Holtmeier has been submitting artwork to the fair since middle school and has received several awards for her work. Last year, she participated in the Crop Art Competition, which features work made from Minnesota’s crops (corn, beans, etc). Holtmeier’s piece was a three-dimensional structure constructed with painted corn seeds.

“Even though it’s fun to work on [the art], displaying it is the best part about it all,” Holtmeier said. “Seeing if you won anything and watching the different people admire everyone’s work is exciting; that’s my favorite part of having my art in a competition like that.”

Mrs. Towne agreed that displaying artwork is a great way for students to showcase their progress and receive recognition for their talents and passion. “The positive thing about it is their work is displayed like actual working artists,” Towne said. “And the public also gets a chance to appreciate that art.”

Though many of the local art shows and galleries don’t take place until the spring, students also have the opportunity to show their work along the wall in EPAC and in the glass case in the commons. “This year we’ve expanded the amount of artwork displayed on the walls,” Towne added. “My philosophy is that kids need to have their work displayed at every level, so the case in the Commons is actually all Level One work.”

This year, the EHS fine arts program will have an additional show at the Edina Library. Towne is confident that the array of opportunities provided by shows like this will benefit the budding artists in her classes. “If a student has work in a gallery or a display case, it boosts their self-confidence and encourages them to make more work in the future,” Towne said.