WHAT DO YOU NOTICE first in a human face? Perhaps it’s eyes or a smile, or the lack thereof. Or maybe you see the whole without attention to the details that comprise a face. However you view someone on the exterior, it is the interior which holds the essence of a person.
With that thought, I present selected photos of portraits from the All Area Student Art Show at the Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault. The second floor exhibit of art from eight schools continues until April 8.
If I could, I would sit down with these young artists and ask: “What do you notice first in a human face? Is the essence of this person in the portrait you created? What process did you use to make this portrait?” I am assuredly an inquisitive writer of many questions. I am a listener, an observer, a gatherer of information. I expect answers to my inquiries would vary.
But one thing is certain. The artists behind the portraits saw a face—whether in a mirror, a photo, his/her imagination, etc. Then their individual perspectives, interpretations, skills factored into creating these portraitures.
If I study each work of art, I see personality traits emerging in the subjects. Reserved. Joyful. Tentative. Compassionate. Inquisitive. Even especially creative. I could be right. Or I could be wrong in my observations. Faces can reveal a lot, but can also hide a lot.
I recognize that for these young artists, such deep thoughts may not have presented themselves. And that’s OK. Perhaps just the challenge of creating a portrait was enough without the added distraction of introspection.
I admire the talent of these student artists ranging from kindergartners to seniors in high school. While I don’t hold any art training, portraits seem particularly difficult to create. They would be for me, unless I captured a portrait with my camera. And even then I don’t claim to be a portrait photographer, except in the journalistic style.
When the youth artists in the Faribault art show look at their work and look in the mirror, I hope they see beautiful, creative faces. I hope they see the talent they hold. I hope they understand that they are unique and valued and supported. I hope, too, that creativity continues to be an important part of their lives, a lens through which they can see the world and then share it with others.
Art matters. And so do each and every one of these developing young artists. They are our future, wherever their talents take them in this world.
FYI: Paradise gallery hours are noon – 5 pm Wednesday – Friday and 10 am – 2 pm Saturday. This exhibit runs until April 8. Photos were taken with permission of the Paradise. Original copyrights to the art are owned by the individual artists.
© Copyright 2023 Audrey Kletscher Helbling