Washington County student art showcased at exhibit

April 28, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- Boonsboro Middle School student Amber Smith created a giant cheeseburger out of fabric.

Her classmate Aurelle King made a Hello Kitty that stood about 4 feet tall.

Courtney Boyer, a sophomore at Smithsburg High School, used pastels to create the soft pinks in a ballerina's tutu.

These works of art, and hundreds of others by Washington County Public Schools students, are on display at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown's City Park. The exhibit, which includes more than 1,000 pieces of art, will be on display through May 25.

Don Viar, an art teacher at South Hagerstown High School, said student artwork has been displayed in an exhibit annually for at least 40 years.

He said about 4,000 people are expected to visit the display this month and next. More than 2,000 attended an opening reception Sunday.


Each public school in Washington County has student artwork on display, including drawings, paintings, sculptures and other pieces.

"It's a showcase for a whole year of work," Viar said.

Zandra Sullivan, a Boonsboro High School sophomore, has five pieces in the exhibit. Most visitors seemed drawn to a colored pencil portrait she created of a woman with fiery red hair. Zandra said she started with a picture of Keira Knightley from a "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie to create the drawing.

She changed the girl's expression and the colors in the picture.

Zandra said it was great seeing people's reactions to her work.

"Wow," she said. "It's overwhelming. I look at that picture, and I'm thinking how did I do that? How did I do it that well?"

Her mother, Suzanne Sullivan, said her daughter puts a lot of time and energy into her artwork.

"Even at 4 years old, she was doing the most amazing things," Sullivan said of her daughter.

Eleven-year-old Dejah Kerey created a flower using oil pastels in her Northern Middle School art class.

"It's amazing, how the colors pop out like that," the sixth-grader said.

Dejah said she worked with different blues for the background of her picture, and used a photograph as a guide.

Kayla McPherson, 7, created a metal embossing that was on display Sunday. The Williamsport Elementary School second-grader said she wrote on metal and then colored it.

Kayla said she likes to draw animals, especially dolphins.

"I know how to draw an alligator," she said.

Bester Elementary fifth-graders created a new addition to the annual art exhibit - a clay animation movie about Black History Month. The movie was on constant rotation on a laptop in the gallery.

Art teacher Josh Edwards said students were involved in everything from the storyboards to making the clay figures.

"It's a long process they have to go through," he said. "The kids really loved it."

A group of students wanted to create a movie about a current black skateboarder. Edwards said the students "really got into it" because it was a topic in which they were interested. The students brought in skateboarding magazines to make sure they were accurately portraying the skateboarder.

"It was their interest, and they applied it," Edwards said.

Josiah Adlon hopes his interest and talent in art can help him be a successful art teacher and freelance artist. The Clear Spring High School senior has two pieces in the Washington County Public Schools exhibit: an acrylic piece and a pencil drawing.

Josiah also started the school's art club as a sophomore.

His acrylic piece includes skulls and crossbones that were inspired by a CD cover.

"It's nice for people to be able to see my work and for me to be able to see their work," Josiah said. "I get inspiration from other people's work."

If you go

What: Washington County Public Schools student art exhibit

When: Now through May 25, Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Where: Groh Gallery at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown's City Park

Details: For more information, call 301-739-5727, or go to

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