On Thursday, May 12, Hernando County held its 23rd Annual Art Gallery Recognition Night. Students from seven elementary schools, three kindergarten-eighth (K8) schools, four middle schools, four high schools and one virtual school (E-school) participated. Central High School was the site of the gallery walk, with students, school staff, school board representatives, and proud relatives admiring all the art work.
The styles and art media were as varied as the students. Some used photography and digital images, others used colored pencils or torn paper to create their work. And there were many other techniques on display. Some of the young artists took their inspiration from nature and some from Hollywood. Others were inspired by anime characters or well-known artists.
Roxanne DeAngelis teaches art at Suncoast Elementary School and works with kindergarteners through fifth graders. Sometimes the kindergarteners will do the same basic assignment as the older students, but on a less advanced level. “We just finished Japanese print-making and the kindergarteners loved that. We also did salt paintings,” remarked Ms. DeAngelis. Salt painting is a fun and easy technique in which the artist draws a design on card stock or some other type of paper. Then he drizzles glue over the design. Afterwards, he sprinkles salt over the design, shakes off the excess salt and then paints it using watercolors. The finished product is a three-dimensional picture. The students were excited to talk about their artwork. Lydia McCue, a fifth grader at Suncoast Elementary, created a self-portrait. She explained how she did it, sharing, “I used colored pencils and then torn paper. I got the transparent effect by coloring on a different piece of paper and then gluing it on the drawing.”
Westside Elementary School fourth grader Patric Kom did a still life using waxed crayons. He drew the basket of fruit from memory. He stated, “I came up with the idea of drawing a basket and then I decided to put fruits in it because it looked kind of plain.” In his art classes he learned techniques, such as smearing, and smeared the different colors to give the piece a more realistic look. Even at a young age, Patric has definite ideas of what he wants to accomplish. “My goal is to become one of the best artists in the world. My other goal is to be the best Tae Kwon Do master and get a black belt.”
Natalie Dang is in the fifth grade at Suncoast Elementary and displayed a portrait of Nezuko Kamodo, one of her favorite Anime characters. It was a collage made from torn bits of paper. “What I like best about art is that I can express myself and do whatever I want,” she stated. Marianne Poholek is an art teacher at Chocachatti Elementary School and has been teaching for thirty-five years. All of those years have been spent in Hernando County schools. She stated, “The most satisfying thing about teaching art is when the children get so excited about their artwork and they can’t wait to go home and show their parents.”
For children who are insecure about drawing or creating art, Ms. Poholek tells them, “You just have to try. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it looks great because the person sitting next to you or your parents are going to be very impressed. Just give it your best shot and see how it turns out.”
Twins Kadin and Adam Rahman are seniors at Nature Coast Technical High School. Their specialty is digital art. Although Adam did not display any of his work at the show, he did display a piece in Los Angeles earlier this year, which ended up being curated. They got their interest in art from their father. However, Kadin’s and Adam’s mother is their biggest cheerleader.
Kadin and Adam’s art teacher at Nature Coast is Trevor Barlow and he has nurtured their talent. They both intend to go into art as a career. They’ll be going to Pasco Hernando State College to finish their AA degree and then attend either St. Leo University, the University of Fla or the University of North Florida. .
Kadin’s piece, entitled “Moonlight Fog Valley,” used a double exposure technique which gave the piece a surreal effect. He is part of the picture and is taking a selfie. The moon is on the upper left side and towards the bottom of that side is a finger pressing the shutter.
Both brothers take their art seriously. Adam has his work displayed on his website and the asking price for some of the pieces is more than $2,000. Besides his digital work, he has also done film editing, 3D modeling and animation. He would like to eventually study film and editing.
“What I find most rewarding is the comments I get for my work,” remarks Adam. Kadin adds, “It’s not so much inspiration as it is discipline. I love anything digital and anything in graphics.”
Their former art teacher at Challenger K8, Anne Bristol, was there to admire their progress in the last four years. She’s been teaching art for thirty years and will be retiring at the end of this school year. Ms. Bristol taught at both Hernando High School and West Hernando Middle School before joining the inaugural staff at Challenger seventeen years ago. “What is most rewarding is when kids start believing in their ability, when they see after encouragement and showing them different ways to present their art that they actually can do it. Some students come in and say they can’t draw and after a few weeks they’re loving it and trying new techniques,” Ms. Bristol remarks. When she retires, she plans on continuing with her art. Her favorite medium is watercolor. At the end of the evening, the outstanding artists in all grade levels were presented the Superintendent’s Art Recognition Award.