IF I COULD TALK to these students, what would they tell me about their art? Would their responses show a passion for creating? Would they tell me they were just completing an assignment? Or would their answers fall somewhere in between?
As a wordsmith, I often wonder about the stories behind the art displayed at the annual All Area Student Show at the Paradise Center for the Arts in historic downtown Faribault. While perusing the pieces, I see varied versions of the same theme. That reveals a general classroom assignment focused on a subject. Yet even that prompt leads to individual creativity.
What would Ayub, Mariyo, Isaac, Natalia, Aubrey, Lily, Myrka, Jaelynn, Mumtaaz, Brianna, Rain and the many other student artists say about their art? The art they created at their respective schools—Faribault Area Learning Center and Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt Elementary schools.
When I view their exhibit, I am impressed by the level of talent—from kindergarten through high school. But this is about much more than talent. This is about encouraging young people in the arts. This is about showing us adults that young people have an artistic voice. This is about taking away our own interpretations of this artwork.
I appreciate how, even on the theme of nature, students’ interpretations range from boldly colorful—as if illustrated in a children’s picture book—to realistic—as if printed in the pages of a nature guidebook.
The art shown in this exhibit conveys celebration, joy, history, a sense of place, personality, messages, nature and more.
If these students wrote artists’ statements, what backstories would they share? What inspires them? Why did they choose bold or subtle? Are they conveying a message? Or simply creating?
As someone who’s created with words and images for decades, I understand how my prairie background, upbringing in a southwestern Minnesota farm family and personality influence my work. I write and photograph with a strong sense of place, with detail. And, I hope, with compassion, empathy, understanding, connection and a desire to make a positive difference. I listen. I observe. I create.
I create, too, with a focus on what’s right here—in our area communities, in the countryside… And, today, what’s on the second floor of the Paradise Center for the Arts—the art of young creatives.
FYI: The student art show continues through April 9 at the Paradise, 321 Central Avenue North, Faribault. PCA hours are from noon – 5 pm Wednesday through Friday and from 10 am – 2 pm Saturdays. Click here to read Part I in this two-part series.
© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling