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From inspiration to expression

'Public School Art Exhibition' spotlights area students' creativity

'Public School Art Exhibition' spotlights area students' creativity

May 23, 2006|by FEDORA COPLEY

Any art museum is bound to have cool art, whether traditional or modern, realistic or abstract. But at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown's City Park, there's a show that encompasses all that and more, created by students in Washington County.

The show, the annual "Public Schools Art Exhibition," displays artwork from students in Washington County public schools and continues through Sunday, May 28.

In the spacious room in which the students' art is displayed, colors and shapes jump out and call for attention. Picasso-esque faces by Alex Irving, Michaela Vanvlict and other students at Bester Elementary pop out with exaggerated features and angles. Paper renditions of molas, the fabric images traditional to Panama's Cuna tribes, are the work of students at several elementary schools, including Sharpsburg and Potomac Heights. Eastern Elementary School sent three-dimensional wall art made with puzzle pieces and other media.

Papier-mâché animal heads made by students in several elementary schools, including Lincolnshire and Fountaindale, look out amidst brightly colored images rendered by elementary schoolers.

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The bold shapes and bright colors of the elementary school art are expressive and lively, like their creators.

Near one entry to the student art show, art by Ben Unger, Timothy Higgins and Madison Bundue at Northern Middle School takes on a level of realism in adaptations of existing material, such as album covers and cartoons. Other students' work by Sharon Dominguez and David Paddock creates a window into wispy landscapes represented with soft pastels.

In another display, eighth-graders Alex Berchock, Anthony Britti and Jason Hammond peek out in self portraits from Springfield Middle School.

In a far corner of the show, ceramic boxes by students of Hancock Middle-Senior High School are charming and well-built ? looking like they were made by much older artists.

There is more high schoolers' art in the center of the room. Photographs capture scenes of life, intriguing to view. The quality of paintings and drawings is impressive, and in some cases astonishing. Paintings by Sarah Kersting and Matt Fortese from Boonsboro High School and Vu Nuygen from South Hagerstown High are outstanding. Pencil drawings by Priscilla Fernandes from South Hagerstown and Lisa Reaux and Charles Irwin from Boonsboro show mature shading, proportion and composition. Some of the best work can be found on the floor ? duct tape used to hold some high schoolers' drawings is not very effective.

As engaging as the younger kids' artwork is, the realistic and expressive rendering of high school students' subjects is eye-catching. Right by the entrance to the show, a couple of startlingly realistic foxes drawn by Molly Gur of Clear Spring High School peep out of a black border. The realism of these cute creatures is a sharp contrast to the work of the younger kids.

Although the proportion and presentation of the high school pieces is of a higher quality, the art is no more engaging than the Picasso-esque faces of kids.

Though work created by famous artists is captivating automatically, the artwork here is of equal interest. Imagining the artists ? at work, getting inspired, expressing their inner being on paper ? all this is as moving as any Rembrandt. Just closer to home.

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