Benefits of Sharing Artwork Early
The hallways of The Oaks are always lined with student art, but in the spring, middle school students have a special showing. Each student chooses their “portfolio best” to be displayed in the Middle School Art Show. Art enthusiasts from the local community are invited to view and judge student art in the show, bestowing awards on the best pieces based on criteria, such as the work’s craftsmanship. Does the artist have control of his/her medium? Are basic rules of composition in play (good use of space, identifiable focus)?
According to art teacher Kelsi Crawford, “The experience encourages students to express themselves and discover a medium that draws out their ideas.”
When students reach high school, they may need to submit portfolios for classes, and later for college scholarships and internship applications. “It takes courage to submit your artwork,” says Crawford. “Being held to a specific criteria gives them a taste of seeing a standard and striving for a standard. For some students, it ignites a fire to continue to pursue art.”
By displaying their art for others, students are given the opportunity to make their work public. It increases their confidence because it shows them that sharing art is not just for elite. Last year, the winning artwork was displayed at Foundry Provisions coffee shop, allowing their work to be a link to community. Another community link is the partnership with Harrison Center for the Arts artists who will serve as judges for this year’s show. The Harrison Center, which has many Oaks connections, hosts art shows on First Fridays that are open to the community.
After graduating from middle school, many Oaks students continue art study at local high schools including Herron High School down the street. Some alumni have even made their careers in fine arts. And for those who do not pursue art as a career, appreciation for the beauty and craft, and the value to the community still stay with them.