The Times West Virginian

April 29, 2014

Students display artistic talents at weeklong exhibit

By Chelsi Baker
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The Middletown Mall was decorated with colorful artwork from 20 schools at the end of the day Monday.

Area art teachers set up for the Marion County Schools Art Exhibit, which will run today until Sunday at 2 p.m. Middletown Mall hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

“What’s really remarkable is the resourcefulness of these art teachers because the amount of funding they get isn’t great, but the work these kids produce is absolutely phenomenal,” said coordinator JoAnn Nuzum. “These teachers are just the best.”

Teachers put up pieces made with watercolor, crayons, ripped paper, markers and sculpture, among other media.

Work from students in grades kindergarten through 12 is on display and is a result of lessons taught in compliance with the state’s Content Standards and Objectives.

Jennifer Staud, art teacher at Barrackville School, tried to display pieces from as many students as possible.

“I think it’s really important to promote the arts,” she said. “I think that a lot of kids excel in that area, and they need the self confidence. It’s wonderful for them to come out and get to see their artwork out in public and people looking at it and admiring it. I think it makes them feel really good when they get a piece of their work displayed.”

Watson Elementary’s art teacher, Richard Henderson, featured scenery depicting the seasons students made from cut paper shapes.

“With elementary, you’re working with basic colors, basic shapes, lines and trying to get them to put a little bit of what they think about the season into the picture,” he said.

He chose work from students who have worked hard throughout the year, as well as from kids who have most improved, he said.

He anticipates a lot of questions from students tomorrow.

“I haven’t told them yet. I’m going to tell them tomorrow,” he said. “In the morning announcements, I’m going to make an announcement of all the kids that are in the art show. There’s about 55 here from all the grade levels.”

Showing student work gives a sense of completion, said Mannington Middle teacher Frank Puskas.

“The third nine weeks was tough with all the snow days, and I didn’t think we’d get anything done, but we pushed through and got a lot of things accomplished,” he said.

He brought a variety of work from each grade and chose colorful pieces he felt the public would enjoy, he said.

The show is a way to finish up the year and show students’ artistic talent, which can be overshadowed by state testing outcomes and sports, Puskas said.

“This is kind of our end of year thing to show off the artwork to the county and the public.”

Email Chelsi Baker at cbaker@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.