Valley High students get hands-on experience with library exhibit
By Julie Martin
Published: Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
People's Library in New Kensington offers a colorful glimpse into the creative experience of Valley High School students.
The “Mixed and Varied Medium Exhibit” offers a wide variety of artwork created with varying materials, inspirations and purposes. All of the work, however, shares one thing in common: the energy and enthusiasm of its young creators.
“The display truly articulates the passion about art and the creative and emotional process students use as they develop into the most expressive works possible,” says art teacher Prissy Pakulski. She organized the exhibit, which runs through the end of this month.
The show represents a year's worth of work, she says. Among the pieces on display are photos, paintings and sculptures.
The students' artwork can be found not only in the library's conference room, where art is often displayed, but all throughout the library's main floor, much of it in unexpected but prominent places like the tops of bookshelves and racks.
“It's awesome; it's become a library/art gallery,” says People's Library Director David Hrivnak. “I think we were able to do a nice job with displaying a lot of (art).”
The show is the library's biggest to date, he says.
Hrivnak is already looking forward to hosting something that brings a multitude of student art into the library next year.
He has found that it draws new visitors to the library, among them, friends and family of students and those who appreciate such art.
“We are definitely more focused trying to reach out to different segments of our population,” he says. “There are definitely different expressions of creativity. Sometimes, it's the written word. Sometimes, it's through visual arts.”
Like Hrivnak, junior Karissa O'Sullivan finds that visual expression provides a good outlet for certain statements.
“(The exhibit) shows the passion that we have in our art and also, for some of us, it tells a story that we can't speak ourselves, because it's easy to maneuver into our art.”
She has several pieces on display. Those include a watercolor painting, a painting done for collaboration between Valley High School art and English classes, and photography from a team project where she and friends painted hands to look like animals.
Emily Armstrong, a sophomore, was part of the hand-painting team as was O'Sullivan.
“I hope everyone at the New Kensington library is enjoying all of the wonderful art being displayed by the great students of Valley, and we thank them for letting us show our art there again,” she says.
Ninth-grader Addie Evans contributed a three-dimensional sculpture of the letter “A” as well as a wire sculpture.
“This show represents the talent of the high school, and people will not underestimate the students that are involved in the arts,” she says.
Robert Dorsey's Warhol-esque color-pencil drawing is a testament to how he is able to communicate through the arts.
“I like to display my art for everyone to see my thoughts on paper or canvas,” the junior says.
“Usually, my thoughts scream in color and seem to be more expressive in my art. My art makes me feel productive, and my ideas come to life.”
Julie Martin is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
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