Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Immersing myself in student art at the Paradise April 4, 2023

Art created by Briana, Faribault Middle School sixth grader. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo March 2023)

THAT LOOKS LIKE an illustration in a children’s picture book” I think while viewing a drawing of a cat eyeing fish in a fish bowl. But I’m not paging through a book. Rather I’m appreciating a work of art by Faribault Middle School sixth grader Briana in the All Area Student Art Show at the Paradise Center for the Arts. The exhibit with student art from eight schools closes April 8.

A sampling of artwork in this exhibit, here the art of Faribault Middle School students. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo March 2023)

Likewise, I envision other art on t-shirts, note cards, mugs, places beyond the walls of this Minnesota center for the arts in historic downtown Faribault.

I am grateful to the Paradise Center for the Arts showcasing student art annually. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo March 2023)

Yet, on this day I value this student art in its role as part of a gallery exhibit, showcased to the public. This annual show is always such a delight in the variety of art, the talent, the way these young artists pour themselves into their work. Some pieces, more than others, offer glimpses into personalities and interests.

Making music via the visual arts. Guitars by Kiley, left, and Mish of Faribault Middle School. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo March 2023)

I can feel my fingers press into the strings of a guitar, the beat of music filling the room.

Paper collages by Faribault Middle School eighth graders Claire, left, and Maddie. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo March 2023)

I can hear the rhythmic thump of a basketball upon the floor, feel my foot connecting with a soccer ball, see a tennis ball fly across the net toward me. I can hear a dog panting, feel its presence nearby.

Two especially creative pieces of art from Kylie, left, and Cassie, Faribault Middle School sixth graders. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo March 2023)

I can see my beautiful multi-hued nails, a reflection of this beautiful, diverse world.

Belinda, Roosevelt second grader, created this bold rooster. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo March 2023)

I can hear the rooster crowing, the chicken clucking, the dog barking.

A collection of kitties drawn by Kennedy, first grader at Roosevelt. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo March 2023)

I can feel a hundred cat eyes on me, watching, waiting.

Holly, a senior at Faribault Area Learning Center, crafted this mask. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo March 2023)

It doesn’t take much to immerse myself in this student art, to experience it. Art can take us places. Geographically. Mentally. Back in time, forward in time. Into an imaginative place. Into a real place. Art can be healing and therapeutic and so many other things. Art can make a statement.

A sampling of art by students from Roosevelt Elementary School. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo March 2023)

To confine art’s purpose to a sentence or two would be like locking ideas inside a box. It can’t be done. As long as creatives create, the expanse of art’s reach is endless. Today these youth have shown me their evolving, developing creativity. And that gives me hope in a world that needs art today more than ever.

FYI: This concludes my three-part series on the All Area Student Art Show. Please click here to read my first post on nature-themed art in this exhibit. And then click here to see portraits created by these students.

The PCA is open from noon-5pm Wednesday-Friday and from 10am-2pm Saturday at 321 Central Avenue North in Faribault.

© Copyright 2023 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


14 Responses to “Immersing myself in student art at the Paradise”

  1. Ruth Says:

    Your student art show series is wonderful, Audrey. How you illustrate your responses to the pieces helps my senses perk up, too. It’s so great how you appreciate the artworks. I’ll be attending Charlie’s Art Show St his school this month. I hope I hear a rooster!

  2. Wonderfully talented children! 🙂

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    Stunning work. All of it is so wonderful.

  4. Bernadette Hondl Thomasy Says:

    I enjoyed attending the student art show with you. Your comments gave me ideas for what to look for in my next visit to an art gallery. Wow, these students are creative.

  5. Valerie Says:

    These works of art are very impressive. I especially like the fish bowl!

  6. beth Says:

    I love the wide range and beauty of their work. To be shown in a gallery is so empowering for these young artists. Thank you for sharing this with us

  7. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    I really enjoyed looking at all the pieces, These kids are very talented.

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